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ISEK - Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft Ethnologie

Uzbekistan: Historical heritage and contemporary challenges

Uzbekistan is a state located at the very heart of the Eurasian continent. Looking back on a long history and rich cultural heritage, it gained independence again only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Famous for cities like Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent as well as the Silk Road running through most of the country, its economy was traditionally based on intensive agriculture and trade.

Today, Uzbekistan hosts a very diverse and young population that sees itself confronted with radical changes in society. The end of the socialist regime meant not only a shift in the political system but also far-reaching economic transformations that influenced the life of urban and rural families likewise. After a period of stagnation, the last ten years have seen significant reforms and gradually increasing standards of living. Still, the adaption to a globalized market economy is far from easy.

During the summer school in Uzbekistan, we will look at these changes and the impacts they have on people. It will begin with a two-week language course that introduces students to the Uzbek language, accompanied by lectures on the historical background and the current situation in the country. This will be followed by a two-week fieldwork period, during which the participants will live with local families and collect data on their research projects.

The language course and summer school will take place from mid-June to mid-July 2024 and will be organized in cooperation with the Institution of Asian and Oriental Studies (UZH). A first meeting will take place at the beginning of the semester and will be announced soon.

Requirements for participation:

  • Letter of intention (deadline: November 30, 2023)
  • Completed first-year course in anthropology or a related discipline
  • Successful participation in the “Regional Module Central Asia” (HS 23) and the course “Doing Ethnography” (HS 23 or FS 24).

The Summer School is open for BA and MA students. Upon successful completion, students will receive 6 ECTS for each the language course and the field excursion.

For further questions please contact Meltem Sancak ( or Peter Finke (