Last Days of Summerschool in Varzob, Tajikistan

The Summerschool comes to an end. In the last days our participants have been busy conducting interviews and training their skills in participatory observation. Prepared by Philipp Schröder and Barbara Christophe, our guest lecturer from the Georg Eckert Institute for International Text-Book Research, first our students went in groups to different locations in Dushanbe for observation (Church, Café, Avtovokzal (bus station), Park). The second part of the practical research was made up of interviews with selected respondents. Our groups of students, combining different language abilities and social research experiences, met with a teacher, a hotel guard, with a babushka and her daughter in law, and with a (former) labour migrant and conducted biographical-narrative interviews. Both practical units were followed by presentations to all Summerschool participants and discussions about the experienced insights from / and limitations of our research methods. Despite our short time frame we have been able to look deeper into conceptions of modernity and tradition in Tajikistan, into the relationship between different religious groups, the patterns of regionalism and ethnicity in everyday life and perceptions of the Soviet past and Islam and Christianity today. Surprisingly for many in our group, harsh distinctions or divisions – may they be regional, confessional or ethnic – are mostly absent, and, what is more, such distinctions seem to be blurry and often underlying conceptions rather broad or even contradictory. People in Tajikistan, we preliminary concluded, are coping with the hardships of the present by flexibly employing diverse notions of social distinctions, and most often not engaging into radical separations for the sake of getting the everyday business done.

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Our Summerschool Programme

The programme for our summer school consists mainly of two blocks: a theoretical part that serves to familiarize students with concepts of identity, conflict, religion and regionalism; and a practical part that aims to train the participants in social research methods, like participatory observation and interview conduction. In between our guest lectures Mehmonsho Sharif from Bergen University and Emil Nasritdinov from the American University of Central Asia inform our students about cases of conflict & religion in the region and some leisure time is reserved to discover Dushanbe and the surroundings of Varzob.


To download the full programme in PDF, follow the link: SS Program Tajikistan 2013


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Our Summerschool Has Started

Our Summerschool has started. July 4th we arrived at our location in Varzob near Dushanbe in Tajikistan; we, that are students from Kyrgyzstan, from Germany and from different regions in Tajikistan, plus the group of lecturers. Yesterday we started with our first lectures and seminars by Philipp Schröder on theories on Identity in the morning, followed by Alexander Wolters who read about theories of conflict in the afternoon session. Today we already enjoyed a seminar by Elina Schröder about the conflict of Osh in Kyrgyzstan in June 2010, and currently we are listening to Bernard Christophe, who introduces our mixed group of students from different disciplines in the social and cultural sciences to the movement of Milli Görüş in Germany. Tomorrow we will continue with a seminar by Manja Stephan about the diversity as well as contestations and conflicts in Tajikistan’s religious field with particular reference to new religious authorities. In the following days we will shift our focus towards questions related to the application of social research methods, such as conducting interviews and participatory observation. In between we enjoy our stay here in in Varzob and discover Tajikistan a bit. More news will follow.

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… Learning To Analyze

“During 10 joyful days I learned to analyze texts and express my thoughts constructively. I made good friends from different countries with whom I am still in touch. It was a wonderful experience!”

Azim Narzullaev
Tajik-Russian Slavic University
Participant of our Summer School in Osh in September 2012

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… Foundation of Knowledge and Future Career

“I must note that the teachers of the summer school do not only provide the foundation of knowledge but also give guidance for your future profession. Teachers give good advices where to study Master programs and recommend suitable universities.”

Nursultan Toktosunov
Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University
Political Science
Participant of our Summer School in Osh in September 2012

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… Place of Sharing

“Although the participants were from different countries with different perspectives yet it was a place of sharing, arguing on disputable issues, making conclusions constructively. I gained priceless knowledge how the society functions , interview skills and made friends from Tajikistan and Germany ”

Ainaz Sulaimanova
Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University
Humanitarian faculty
Participant of our Summer School in Osh in September 2012

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