Zarina Urmanbetova




Doktorandin, Department für Sozialwissenschaften

I am a social anthropologist from Kyrgyzstan. I received my BA from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in Bishkek and MA in Cultural Anthropology from Hacettepe University in Turkey. After completing my studies, I returned to Kyrgyzstan and worked as a researcher on various projects conducted by UN Women Kyrgyzstan, the public foundation Urban Initiatives, Research Institute of Islamic Studies Bishkek, and Analytical Center Polis Asia.

Currently, I am a junior researcher in the team project “ROADWORK: An Anthropology of Infrastructure at China’s Inner Asian Borders” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2018-2022) and directed by Prof. Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi. In my study, I focus on the social life of roads in central Kyrgyzstan, where I conducted seven months of ethnographic fieldwork in 2019-2020. I will return to my field for another five months in spring 2021.

Research interests: religious practices, identity, ethnicity, feminism/gender, urban, and memory studies, infrastructure, and the decolonial option.

Research area: Kyrgyzstan, post-Soviet Central Asia

Student supervision:

I am happy to supervise BA theses and seminar papers on topics such as Islam, gender, urban and memory studies, and anthropology of infrastructure in the context of Central Asia. Further, I offer advice on qualitative research methods and the MAXQDA program for data analysis. 

Forschung und Publikationen

  • Publikationen

    Urmanbetova, Zarina (ed.). 2020. Special issue “Dreams of Mankurt.” Nemomomif – An interdisciplinary journal of research and observations on Central Asia with an attempt of decolonial option 2.

    Urmanbetova, Zarina. 2020. “Infrastructure in Central Asia through the prism of anthropology: Unexplored consequences of new projects.” Interview with Prof. Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi. Central Asian Analytical Network (in Russian).

    Nasretdinov, E., Z. Urmanbetova, K. Murzakhalilov, and M. Myrzabaev. 2019. “Vulnerability and Resilience of Young People in Kyrgyzstan to Radicalization, Violence and Extremism: Analysis across Five Domains.” Central Asia Program Paper no 213. Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University.

    Urmanbetova, Zarina (ed.). 2018. Special issue “Languages of Memory.” Nemonomif: An interdisciplinary journal of research and observations on Central Asia with an attempt of decolonial option 1.

    Urmanbetova, Zarina. 2017. “Activism in the Name of the Forgotten city: The Case of Local Activists – Shaarmans in Kyrgyz cities.” In Reimagining Civil Societies: Collection of articles on civil society in a time of change. Bishkek: American University of Central Asia, Sociology Department. Pp. 61-75.

    Kanybek kyzy, Dinara, Zarina Urmanbetova, Samyibek uulu Atai, and Anarbayeva Saltanat. 2017. “Города Кыргызстана через призму горосдкого исследования” [Kyrgyz towns through the lens of urban research]. Popular Sscience Magazine Municipalitet4 (65): 4-18.

    Urmanbetova, Zarina. 2017. “Шаарманы [Shaarman: urban heroes of Kyrgyz towns].” Popular Science Magazine Municipalitet4 (65): 20-32.

    Urmanbetova, Zarina. 2016. “Women’s Rites of Passages Observed During the Wedding Rituals among Van Kyrgyz Community.” In: Conference Proceedings of the 3rd Congress of Ethnologists and Anthropologists of Kyrgyzstan Vol. 3 Issue 1. Osh: Osh State University Press. Pp. 281-285.

    United Nations research reports:

    “Pillar Research Report: Women’s Religious Beliefs and Practices.” UN Women Kyrgyzstan. 2017.

    “Professional and Marriage Choices of Youth in Kyrgyzstan.” Youth Research Team, UN Women Kyrgyzstan. 2016.