Which Central Asian President are You?

Which Central Asian president are you? I got the idea for this post way back during one of Trump’s first trips abroad. It was a regional summit of Islamic leaders held somewhere in Saudi Arabia or the like. What struck me was how relaxed he looked. Usually stern/serious or smirking, he was smiling from ear…

Study Abroad and Societal Change

As a follow up to my book review of Doug Blum’s The Social Process of Globalization, I would like to expand upon four ideas that struck me while reading it and add some questions for further research. The ripple effect? The young people who go abroad bring back a certain amount of cultural capital. So…

How Does Travel Abroad Change Us?

In his new book, “The Social Process of Globalization: Return Migration and Cultural Change in Kazakhstan”, Professor Douglas Blum looks at the experiences of young Kazakhstanis who have returned from time or work in abroad, namely the west. He has written a detailed profile of the changes that occur in both identity and habit, which…

Autopsy of a Half-Baked Anthropological Research Project [update]

A recurring theme on this blog has been politics and the changing social landscape of Kazakhstan. I thought it would be helpful to explain in more detail some of the research I’ve done outside of this blog in order to to provide more context to my ideas here. To begin, it’s been five years since I…

The Imaginary City

A friend recently forward me a London Review of Book’s write-up of Owen Hatherley’s architectural travelogue of post-Communist spaces. It got us talking about the motivations of the western mind towards these kinds of exotic expeditions. What draws some people, like myself, to not just visit these sites but write about them? The discussion me understand why…

From the Desk of Mehmet Akdağ

Found in the customer pages of the Istanbul Otogar (bus station): Sizin firması hiç iyi değil Lavabo yok çay yok su yok Gereğini yapılmaşı rica ederim -Mehmet Akdağ My own poetic translation: Your company is not at all worthy of respect. There is no sink, nor tea, nor water to be seen! I implore you…