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CREECA Lecture: The Political Economy of Polygynous Marriages Among the Kyrgyz with Michele Commercio

March 31 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

206 Ingraham Hall

There is very little academic literature on polygyny among Central Asians in general and among the Kyrgyz in particular. This talk, based on Michele Commercio’s forthcoming book, will explore the normalization of polygyny among the Kyrgyz in contemporary Kyrgyzstan, which criminalizes such unions, from a historical perspective. By normalization, she means implicit tolerance of unconcealed polygynous marriages at the mass and elite levels of Kyrgyz society within a state that is obligated but neglects to penalize men with multiple wives. During the talk, Commercio will explain how communist institutions gradually limited the rate of unconcealed polygynous marriages among the Kyrgyz, and how the breakdown of those institutions combined with enduring hegemonic constructions of gender gradually contributed to the re-emergence of unconcealed polygynous marriages among the Kyrgyz.

About the Speaker: Professor Commercio specializes in Central Asian comparative politics. Her research interests include issues related to regime transition, ethnic politics, gender, and Islam in post-Soviet states. Professor Commercio’s most recent research has been funded by IREX , NCEEER, APSA, and the University of Vermont. Her work appears in Central Asian Studies, Central Asian Affairs, Politics, Groups, and Identities, Politics and Gender, Political Science Quarterly, Studies in Comparative International Development, Nationalities Papers, Problems of Post-Communism and Post-Soviet Affairs. Professor Commercio’s first book, “Russian Minority Politics in Post-Soviet Latvia and Kyrgyzstan: The Transformative Power of Informal Networks,” was published in 2010 with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her second book, accepted for publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, analyzes the political economy of polygynous marriages among the Kyrgyz. Her current research focuses on obstacles women desiring a career in Kyrgyz politics confront as well as obstacles women in Kyrgyz politics confront.


March 31
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
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