Ms Diana Ibanez-Tirado
BA International Relations (Faculty of Political Science, UNAM - Mexico), MSc Middle Eastern Studies (Centre of Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de Mexico - Mexico), MA Social Anthropology (SOAS - University of London)
BiographyCentral Asia, Tajikistan, Anthropology of Time, Nationalism, Islam, Post-Socialism, History, Temporality, Ceremonial Economies, Muslims in Mexico.
The Tajik nation, as well as other nationalities of the ex-USSR, has been generally portrayed as an “artificial” product of the Soviet era. The post-independent development of Tajikistan and the post-Soviet Central Asian republics have also tended to be explored by scholars in terms of “transition” from socialism, on the one hand, to capitalism and democracy on the other. What makes Tajikistan different from other Central Asian republics is that its people experienced seven years of a civil war (1992-1997), something which marked a cut-off point in the representation of this temporal development to transition and progress. The increasing importance that history making has come to play in Tajikistan as part of the country’s attempts to overcome its so-called “fragmentation”, and the consequent project of framing Tajik identity today with reference to a shining ancient past are the principal reasons that have inspired me to investigate the importance of time and temporality to the identity formations and subjectivities of people living in the Eastern districts of Khatlon region in southern Tajikistan (Vose, Dangara, Farkhor, Kulob, Hamadoni, Muminobod, Khovaling and Shurobod).
Hence, my ethnography will focus not only on the sites and production of official history, but also the ways in which people practice and experience different temporalities present within such national framework. My aim, however, is not to ask how official histories may be contested from the bottom-up. Instead, I propose to analyse how people in the Eastern districts of Khatlon region create and experience time for themselves during official holidays, life-cycle rituals and everyday life in order to understand more complex and multi-layered subjectivities and temporal formations which have been ignored by studies about identity and history in Central Asia and misinterpreted by theories about “clan” formations in Tajikistan. Thus, temporality is identified as the materialization of: a) social representations, b) practices, and c) experiences, related to time.
The project will seek to contribute to older and newer debates in anthropology in three major ways. Firstly it will seek to provide an anthropological analysis into the complexity of post-independence Tajikistan’s political culture through a detailed study of everyday life in one of the country’s most-important yet hitherto unstudied regions: the Eastern districts of Khatlon Oblast. In so doing, the project will enrich the expanding yet conceptually unelaborated body of work concerning Central Asia and Tajikistan.
Secondly, the resulting ethnography will add to an old yet expanding body of literature concerning the ways in which time is socially materialised during everyday life. It will consider dimensions of everyday life ranging from holidays, to life-cycle rituals and importantly more mundane daily activities in Eastern Khatlon in order to bring new ethnographic and theoretical perspectives to this body of work.
Thirdly, it will explore the ways in which people in the region are framed in relationship to multiple temporalities. I argue that identity and subjectivity are closely intermingled with representations and practices related to time, and consider that understanding, experiencing and reflecting upon time-passing are common to the human condition. Moreover, explanations about “who we are” and “what we do”, in relationship to retrospective narratives, and “where we go”, in relation to the present condition, permit human beings to create phenomenological temporal frameworks. Whilst I recognize the close, important and widely theorised relationship between time and space, focusing on temporality specifically will allow me to explore my topic beyond the rather tired and well worn equations of global/local and, thus, furnish me with exploring the national, transnational, communal and individual, as well as discursive, practical and emotional aspects of time as a social category.
- IBANEZ TIRADO, D. (forthcoming), El proceso de conversion al Islam en Mexico, en: ZERAOUI, Z., El Islam en America Latina, Monterrey, Mexico: Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey. Reproduced and translated to Portuguese in Estudos Afro-Asiaticos, Rio de Janeiro: Universidad Candido Meneses (forthcomoning).
- IBANEZ TIRADO, D. 2007. Introduccion al Estudio de Asia Central, Mexico D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
- IBANEZ TIRADO, D. 2007. Eventos Recientes en Asia Central, Revista de Estudios de Asia y Africa 133, Mexico, D.F.: El Colegio de Mexico, vol. XLI, no.1.
- Full-time PhD Scholarship awarded by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT) 2008-2012.
- University of London Central Research Fund 2008/2009.
- Full-time MSc Scholarship awarded by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT) 2004-2006.
I have taught undergraduate courses in History of the Middle East and Central Asia at Mexican National State University (UNAM) 2005-2007, and Universidad de las Americas (UDLAP) 2006.