Kazakh women in Mongolia: negotiating religious identity in a post socialist context
After the fall of the Soviet Union, a notable increase of religiosity has occurred among Muslim communities throughout Central Asia. This new wave of religiosity tends to be concentrated among the younger generations defined as those who grew up after the fall of the Soviet Union. In contrast, the older generations Kazakhs have not totally abandoned secular beliefs and practices associated with the socialist past. This paper focuses on the rise of Muslim piety and religious participation among young Kazakh women in post socialist Mongolia. I will examine how revival of Islam phenomena is being exercised, and conflicted between two generations: secular and religious Kazakh Mongolians. In this paper, I refer to "secular generations" people above 30 whose identities have been impacted by anti religious politics of Soviet Russia until 1990s, whereas "religious Kazakhs" refers to younger generation (under 30) Kazakh Mongolians who have been intensively practicing their newly constructed Muslim identity after freedom to religious practices in 1990s. This paper will be based on the data collected through my pilot study, which I plan to conduct between June 15 to August 15, 2018 in Bayan Ulgii- a Kazakh dominated Western province of Mongolia. The pilot study will examine the following questions: 1) how young Kazakh Muslim women construct their religious identity within a society that is defined by religious and cultural diversity, and 2) what tensions may exist between two generations of Kazakhs Muslims whose religious identities were formed within distinct socio-political contexts?
Religion in Social Context