Ottavia Cima


Phone: +41 26 300 92 38 | Fax: +41 26 300 97 46

E-mail: ottavia.cima(at)

Office: 327.1

Function: PhD Student

Personal Info

Academic Qualification

  • 2013-to date    PhD Candidate, Unit of Geography, University of Fribourg
  • 2013               M.Sc. Geography, University of Zurich. Thesis: “The journey of accountability. Translating,
                          negotiating and performing development in rural Nepal”
  • 2010               B.Sc. Geography, Political Economy and Italian Literature, University of Zurich
  • 2006               Federal degree (maturità federale), Liceo Cantonale Bellinzona

Professional Experience

  • 2013-to date          Teaching and administration assistant, Unit of Geography, University of Fribourg
  • 2013                      Junior Advisor Governance and Peace, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Zurich
  • 2011-2012             Young researcher for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Zurich/Kathmandu
  • 2008-2012             Semester assistant / tutor in political, human and economic geography, University of


  • GG 0473: Global Change, Development and Ethics (Master Seminar, SS 2014)
  • GG 0322: Méthodes qualitatives III (Bachelor Seminar, AS 2015)
  • GG 0271: Qualitative Methoden II (Bachelor Seminar, AS 2016, AS 2017)
  • GG 0256/7: Excursion en géographie - Tessin (Bachelor Excursion, SS 2015, SS 2016, SS 2017, SS 2018)
  • GG 0453/4: Geography field trip - Central Asia (Master Excursion, SS 2017)


Provisory dissertation title: Cooperatives and cooperation in rural Kyrgyzstan: competing subjectivities and reciprocities in post-socialist agrarian transformation. 
My doctoral research investigates post-socialist rural transformation in Kyrgyzstan. My entry point is in questioning the apparent “failure” of service and marketing cooperatives promoted by international development projects. Based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in a village in the northern region of the country, I examine how different local and external representations of cooperation are negotiated and re-articulated within existing local practices of reciprocity and collaboration in the quickly transforming context of post-independence Kyrgyzstan
  • Collective farming, cooperation, development projects
  • Reciprocity, solidarity, moral economies
  • Feminist political economy, affect theory, economization theory
  • Land use and property, post-socialist land transformation
  • Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia




Past Projects

  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation with the Institute for Development Studies of the University of Sussex : Accountability at the local level in fragile contexts (2011-2013). Link



2015. CIMA, O. Expanding spaces of participation: insights from an infrastructural project in rural Nepal, Geographica Helvetica, 70, 4, 353-361. Link

2013. CIMA, O.  Accountability at the local level in fragile contexts: Nepal case study, IDS Working Paper 421. Link



2018. Exploring diverse agricultures: cooperatives and cooperation in rural Kyrgyzstan. Presented at the POLLEN Biennial Conference, panel “Nurturing “life-in-common”: affective, emotional and embodied practices of/for abundance beyond sustainability”, 20-22 June 2018, Oslo, Norway.

2017. Formal cooperatives, informal cooperation. Getting agricultural work done in Soviet and contemporary rural Kyrgyzstan. Presented at the Annual Conference of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), panel "Improvisation: the art of making do", 5-9 April 2017, Boston, MA, USA. 

2017. Historical trajectories of collective work and cooperative organization for agriculture in rural Kyrgyzstan. Presented at the XXII. AGI (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Genossenschaftswissenschaftlicher Institute) Young Researchers' Conference, panel "Cooperation in Transforming Economies", 31 March-1 April 2017, Berlin, Germany. 

2016. Practices of memory in the post-Soviet everyday: remembering collective agriculture in Norhtern Kyrgyzstan. Preliminary insights from the field. Presented at the Central Asian Studies Institute of the American University of Central Asia, 28 May, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

2015. Constituting the memory of collective work in the post-Soviet everyday. Outline of a study on cooperative organisation in Northern Kyrgyzstan. Presented at the Deutscher Kongress für Geographie (DKG), poster session, 1-6 October 2015, Berlin, Germany.

2014. Memory in the everyday: land transformation and collective farming in Kyrgyzstan. Presented at the 12th Swiss Geoscience Meeting (SGM), panel "Symposium in Human Geography", 21-22 November 2014, Fribourg, Switzerland.


Unit of Geography - Chemin du Musée 4 - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 90 10 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9746
nicole.equey [at] - Swiss University