University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series > Narratives of Schooling During the 1992-97 Civil War in Tajikistan

Narratives of Schooling During the 1992-97 Civil War in Tajikistan

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This seminar explores the narratives of Pamiri men and women who were in primary and secondary school during the brutal conflict that divided the country in the wake of its independence. The Pamiris, who follow the Shi’a Ismaili faith and speak distinctive East-Iranian languages, form the majority of the population of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). Education represents a strong moral value for the Pamiris and thus, being able to attend school during periods of high uncertainty meant, for all the interviewees involved in that project, continuing to live in accordance with the values inculcated generation after generation. Depending if one was in GBAO or in the capital Dushanbe the conflict was lived quite differently. However, in all narratives, the school is described as a site where not only formal learning took place, but where one could feel safe and protected. The memories discussed in this paper are articulated around three different but intertwined themes: locating the self in relation to others and the awareness of difference; the deep transformational effect of the war and how it permeates all aspects of everyday life; the feelings of normality and safety provided by the school.

This talk is part of the Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series series.

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