Education, Identity and Resilience among Gorno-Badakhshan Pamiri Youth by Carole Faucher
Speaker: Carole Faucher
Date: 22 August 2012, 4 pm
Venue: University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, Conference Room.
This lecture examines the interplay of religious, secular and home education in the self-identification process of Pamiris originating from Tajikistan’s Autonomous Province of Gorno-Badadkhshan (GBAO), living in Central Asia with access to Ismaili religious education. The continuous pursuit of knowledge is an intrinsic component of the Ismaili faith, a Shia branch of Islam to which the majority of Tajik Pamiris of GBAO belong. Ismaili religious education includes topics that are also part of secular teaching such as literature, history and geography, and emphasizes development, the use of critical thinking and group interaction. At home, youth master their mother tongue and other aspects of Pamiri culture(s), while the national curriculum aims to socialize them as active citizens of the country where they live. These three sources of education provide structured ways of constructing a sense of belonging. How youth identify themselves in specific contexts nevertheless depends on a multitude of factors, including their own personal historical trajectory. Findings from field research conducted in Khorog, Murghab, Dushanbe, Khujand, and Osh over the past two years indicate that religious education provides Pamiri youth with a strong base for integrating and unifying different categories of knowledge and identity frameworks provided by the other means of education. Good academic performance is a highly valued cultural trait which has more to do with community resilience then with individual competitiveness, and it contributes to the preservation and accumulation of cultural capital associated with the Pamiri regional identity framework.
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Carole Faucher is an Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. She obtained her PhD in Sociology from the National University of Singapore and her Master’s in Anthropology from the Université de Montréal. She has written extensively on identity politics, education, and regionalism in South-East Asia. Her latest publications include the co-edition (with J. Gomez) of a special issue of the Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies entitled “Politics and Identity: Negotiating Power and Space in Asia” (2010). She is currently working on publication projects focusing on Central Asia, including the co-edition (with B. Pasilov) of Education, Identity and Social Transformation in Central Asian Societies, a journal special issue collection which will introduce a number of young scholars from the region. She has been conducting research in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan since 2009.
The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation provided upon prior request.