Women and religious practices in Uzbekistan: Transformation and changes in the light of the post Soviet period

Matluba Wakefield//Anthropology//29th January//1-2 pm//Arts C133


This lecture explores the experience of  transformation of Uzbek women’s religious and ritual lives in Tashkent after Independence.  The presentation is based on research conducted over four years, covering the English, Russian, Uzbek language literature and periodical press, archive materials, and oral histories of women who experienced the challenges of the Soviet system and changes during the Independence period.

This presentation examines the relationship between women’s everyday life, state and religious institutions that controlled and constructed rituals. It further explores Uzbek women’s role within a frame of changes and transformations in Uzbek social life. I suggest that religious rituals and everyday life of Uzbek women changes continuously because of the influence of different forces and institutions. The ritual and everyday life of women changed as it adapted to different historical periods and political systems; being used, controlled and constructed by the state and religious institutions for the purpose of constructing identity, ideology and controlling women.  I further suggest that women cope with the changes and transformation of everyday (ritual and religious) life and it reveals the women’s role, their use of agency and self expression as they adapted or coped with these changes.

Bio: I completed my Masters at the Institute of Social Studies, Women and Development program, in The Hague.  I am a PhD student at Sussex, I recently submitted my thesis and I am now waiting for my VIVA.  I am focusing on women and Islam, religious and life cycle practices in the Soviet and post Soviet period.

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