SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Maureen Pritchard

BA in Slavic and East European Studies (2002) MA in Ethnomusicology (2009)
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Maureen Pritchard
Ms Maureen Pritchard
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Dialogic Imagination: Art, Ethnicity and Social Suffering in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

Throughout the Soviet Union, the arts became tied to ethnicity through the project of Socialist Realism which advocated ‘national form’ and ‘socialist in content’. When, in 1991, the Kyrgyz Republic became independent from the Soviet Union the aesthetico-political project of socialist realism shifted to nation building. Through their engagement with images of the ethno-national self, the arts provide a great source of beauty. At the same, time, despite significant ethnic diversity among its citizens, the national narrative of independent Kyrgyzstan has been built upon tropes of Kyrgyz ethnicity. This has served to marginalize and alienate members of non-Kyrgyz ethnic groups. Thus the same concepts of ethnicity that fuel the creation of beauty through the arts also fuel processes of social suffering. In synthesizing the work of Julia Kristeva and Arthur Kleinman into a new theoretical frame, my work explores music’s participation in the triangulated relationship of cultural representation, collective experience and subjectivity, alongside the restoration of hope, the enactment of creative pleasure, and the initiation of healing. This pushes my work beyond an ethnography of Kyrgyzstan to an anthropology of the human imagination.

PhD Publications

  • 2011. “Creativity and Sorrow in the Kyrgyz context” in The Journal of Folklore Research. 48:2. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
  • 2013.. “Nature, Narod and Emotion: Engaging Socialist Realism and the Arts in Kyrgyzstan”.  Anthropology of East Europe Review. Spring Issue.

PhD Conferences

  • “Nature, Narod and Emotion: Engaging Socialist Realism and the Arts in Kyrgyzstan”. April 2013. The Midwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, University of Cincinatti
  • “Critiquing Cosmopolitanism: Internationalizing Ethno-nationalism”. April 2013: Shifting Boundaries/Crossing Cultures: The Politics, Process, and Performance of Collaboration, The Ohio State University
  • “Mourning and Remembrance: Exploring Continued Social Relationships amongst the Living and the Dead in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan”. November 2012: Central Eurasian Studies Society, University of London
  • “Creativity and Sorrow in Kyrgyzstan”. September 2011: 12th Annual Conference for Central Asian Studies Society, The Ohio State University
  • “The Autumn School: Islamic Sounds, Secular Sounds and the Politics of Listening”. October 2010. University of Amsterdam