Kyrgyz – Muslim – Central Asian? Recent approaches to the study of Kyrgyz culture in Kyrgyzstan: Till Mostowlansky
In humanities, academic disciplines usually struggle for a clear-cut definition of their study object while the definition of their own societal role often remains blurred and seems to be a result of strategic considerations and personal preference. This is true not only for a “Western” environment but also for the academic landscape of the former republics of the Soviet Union. In Kyrgyzstan, where independent academic institutions have been under construction for almost twenty years, the scholarly discourse on the history and culture of the country and its people has been fragmented and remains inextricably linked to processes of nationbuilding and the creation of a national identity. In this regard, the crucial question is whether the Kyrgyz, “their” country and its many other citizens are part of a broader regional and religious context or constitute distinct unities along ethnic boundaries. This is reflected in various academic disciplines, such as history, ethnography, Oriental studies, anthropology and strategic studies.