21–22 Mar 2017

The Little Pamir’s Social Network: Afghan Kyrgyz and Wakhi Coping Strategies from the Tip of Afghanistan

Presentation at the Exeter-Newcastle Postgraduate Workshop on Central Asia, University of Exeter, UK

Tobias Marschall


Afghan Kyrgyz and Wakhi are situated at a unique crossroads in the Pamirian knot. Both on the periphery of contemporary religious, cultural and political domains as well as on the pathways of ancient trading routes, their particular location opens a variety of complex exchanges. Afghan Kyrgyz and Wakhi have negotiated this ever-changing and difficult geopolitical settings. In adapting a high-risk, high-reward pastoral existence necessary for survival, they have constantly reconfigured their relationship with dominant powers. Their resilience in the face of external change can be attributed to their extensive knowledge of the Pamirs' environment, the subtle deployment of regional networks, and the shifting use of existing pathways for local, regional and international trade. Recent changes in the region mark a new turn to their networks' configuration. The presence of Chinese troops, the closure of borders to Pakistan, new visits from religious movements, the creation of a National Park, the differently mediatised arrival of humanitarian aid from the Kyrgyz Republic or Turkey and the death of an important political leader are all affecting their regional embeddedness. On its beginning phase, the research splits in a variety of topics that will be touched briefly and illustrated with the speaker's own images.

Building upon two journeys in the Afghan Pamirs (summers 2015 and 2016) as well as longer stays in the Central Asian region, present talk aims to share recent research outcomes and to discuss the ongoing development of the speaker's PhD research.

Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany
martin.saxer@lmu.de | +49 89 2180 9639

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