Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


This honors thesis was advised by Dr. Holly R. Barcus and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and Paul Anderson.


Using ethnographic interviews and participant observations from the Kazakh community of Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia in June 2009, this study examines how Islamic discourses, practices, experiences, and scales of influence are negotiated in post-socialist Central Asia. To do this, local, national, and transnational dynamics of Mongolian Kazakh religious practice are considered alongside the individual-scale mediating roles of personal preference, social position, life course, power, and social networks. Islam in Bayan-Ulgii is shown to be integral to community and ethnic identity but also multifaceted, dynamic, and multi-scalar, militating against essentialist portrayals of Islam as monolithic or dichotomously split between “high” and “low” forms.



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