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Fall 2014 Graduate Student Brown Bag Talks

Graduate Student Brown Bag Talks

In Fall 2014, the IAUNRC continued the new Graduate Student Brown Bag Talks, that began last year. These talks were given by graduate student that study the region, who will be discussing their research methods, recent work, and experiences. In this series, graduate students had the opportunity to interact with fellow students outside of class, receive feedback in an environment that is less formal than a conference, and learn from the experiences from other graduate students. Most of the talks ended with lively and informative debate and discussion. Students from all departments are invited to attend.

Join us to discuss the speaker’s current work, research, and field experiences.

Fall Brown Bag Talks

Sam Buelow, "Rising Like Phoenixes: Performing Azis and Chonchita Wurst in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan,"  Wednesday, October  1st  12-1 in Ballantine Hall 004.

"Based on my research with the LGBT community in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in the winter and summer of 2014, I examine gay men’s performances of stereotypically Middle Eastern femininity.  I argue that while on the surface, these performances appear profoundly Orientalizing, exoticizing, and Othering, they reflect an internalized Orientalism that allows Kyrgyz Muslim men to lay claim to Oriental “Muslim” femininity.  Placed in contrast with the performance of white European femininities – over which these men may also feel a sense of ownership – I look at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and race in Kyrgyzstan.  The bearded drag queen, in particular, takes center stage as a manifestation and legitimation of men’s claims to femininity, a concept illuminated by an in depth look at the popularity of pop music icons Azis and Conchita Wurst."

Alexander Zakel, "Official Islam and the Internet in Uzbekistan,"  Tuesday, October 21st, 12:30-1:30 in Ballantine Hall 004.

"My talk will focus on Uzbekistan's Committee of Religious Affairs’ website and its importance in learning how the Uzbek government frames religious discussion on the internet. Research is currently in the planning stages, so the focus of the talk will be on proposed research methods and questions, as well as the history of government-sanctioned religious institutions in modern Central Asia."


Amita Vempati, "“Tajik-ness” and Borders: A Comparative Approach" Wednesday,  November 12th, 12:15-1:15 in Ballantine Hall 004.

"This talk is an extension of my research on the intersections between border politics, international relations, and national identity in Tajikistan. I will contrast perceptions of Tajik-ness on the Uzbek-Tajik border (which is closed) and the Kyrgyz-Tajik border (which is open). The research presented will pull largely from studies of spatial memory, state practices, and lived international relations while also using examples from journalistic sources and personal experiences in both cities. To conclude, we will open a discussion about the many ways borders and border identities can be constructed materially and symbolically on both regional and local levels."


Kenny Linden, Tuesday, December 2nd, 12:15-1:15 in Ballantine Hall 004.

"In 1929, at the same time as the Soviet Union, Mongolia began efforts to collectivize its herding economy. However, collectivization in Mongolia was stopped and declared a failure in 1932. It was only in 1954 when efforts to collectivize the livestock began to be implemented again. Six years later collectivization was declared complete. I will discuss my thesis on representations and memory of Mongolian collectivization. I will also discuss future research plans for my dissertation on collectivization in Mongolia."


Amanda Lanzillo, Monday, December 8th, 12:15-1:15 in Charter Room, IMU.

"This talk will be a series of reflections based on my summer position at the Library of Congress. I will provide a brief overview of the organizational project that I worked on with uncatalogued Persian rare books and manuscripts at the Library, before discussing the impact of my summer at the Library on my own understanding of Persian-language book history. I will particularly emphasize the impact of my summer at the Library on my understanding of the geography of Persian book production, and the relationship between manuscript traditions and early print culture."

You can find information about the Fall's semester's talks here, and the Spring semester's talks here.

If you are a graduate student and you are interested in presenting at the talks in future semesters, please contact the Center.