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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Completed Research Projects



Between Tibetanization and Tribalization: Towards a New Anthropology of Tibeto-Burman Highlanders in Arunachal Pradesh

Kerstin Grothmann

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Toni Huber

This project is directed towards a significant and ongoing research deficit in the Anthropology of Tibeto-Burman speaking societies. In the framework of this project the habitations and life circumstances of the population of the south-eastern fringe of the Tibetan Plateau are investigated.


Crossroads Asia

The scholars collaborating in the competence network Crossroads Asia pursue a novel, "post-area studies" approach, making thematic figurations the basis of their scholarly research. The geographical area of study of the competence network extends from eastern Iran to western China and from the Aral Sea to northern India. We refer to this area of study as Crossroads Asia.


Bukharan Jews

Thomas Loy, M.A.

Bukharan Jews: Making Meaning of memories and identity. A study in the oral history and narrative traditions of an endangered species

On the basis of recollections of life histories a study on the so called Bukharan Jews is prepared by Thomas Loy. The Bukharan Jews were regarded as a "national minority" of Soviet Central Asia. Nowadays their communities are to be found in Israel, northern America, Europe and Central Asia.

This joint Project (2004-2008) of Humboldt University Berlin and Tel Aviv University was funded by the German Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF).


Ethnic Conflicts Between Tibetans and Muslims in Qinghai and Gansu: The Historical Background 1862-1949

Bianca Horlemann
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Toni Huber

The historic relationship between Muslims and Tibetans in Gansu and Qinghai (Northwest China) is the main topic of this research project.


The History of Perestroika in Central Asia

Dr. Irina Morozova

The project investigates the adaptive strategies of social groups in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia during perestroika in a broader socio-cultural context and seeks to explain how the newly introduced ideological trends and cultural ideas impacted on social groups and personalities.


The Importance of Horse-headed Wooden Ferries for the Traditional Water Transport in Tibet: A Search For Reasons in the Past and Present

Dr. Diana Lange

The last of the so-called Horse-headed Wooden Ferries were built in the 1940's in Central Tibet and inherited an important role concerning the crossing of rivers, particularly the Yarlung Tsangpo until then. Traces of them can still be found today though.


The Infrastructural, Economic and Socio-Cultural Significance of Waterways in Tibet Before 1959

Dr. Diana Lange



Ismail Gasprinski

Zaynobidin Abdirashidov

Ismail Gasprinski (1851 - 1914) and Turkestan in the early 20th Century: Communication-Relations-Influences and Impact

Dissertation project supported by the Volkswagen-Stiftung.


Memories of Central Asia

The section ‘memories of Central Asia’ offers an insight into various completed research projects which address the cultures of memory and identities of the former Soviet republics of Middle Asia from the point of view of differing fields of research.


Paths of Life in Qaraqalpaqstan

During the last decades people in Qaraqalpaqstan have experienced dramatic changes and reformations of their living space: from civilising of the natural space at the underflow of the Amu Darya (from the 1940s to the 1970s), to agricultural and compound reforms (from the 1960s to the 1980s) and the directly related climatic disaster of the Aral Sea region (since the 1970s), unto the new efficacy of political and administrative borders after the end of the Soviet Union (since the 1990s).


The Phenomenon Dostum

Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf

The goal of the project is to examine why - beyond the allegations - so much hope is connected to the movement Junbish and the personality of Abdurrashid Dostum. The publication may also contribute to the research of the making of discourse and myths under the conditions of a society in Afghanistan, which is highly influenced by oral narration.


Representations of Social Order in Transition: Intercultural and Intertemporal Comparison (DFG special research area 640)

Sub-projct A1 of the SFB 640 Representations of Social Order and Change.

The project examines representation of social and political order on central meetings. Central Political gatherings are understood as places of encounter between the ruler / government and representatives of politically relevant people of a national community.


Socialist Campaigns in Central Asia: A comparative agent-centered research on representation of "purity"

Subproject C1 of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 640)Representations of Social Order and Change. Intercultural and Intertemporal Comparisons

Our comparative research project is focused upon socialist campaigns in the central Asian regions of Turkestan, Mongolia and Tibet that were conducted between 1921 and 2000. One of the interesting parallels between the three research areas is the connection between the notion of creating the "new socialist person" and claims for the "purity" of his/her body, morality and ideology. Accordingly, we are engaged in research into a number of different campaigns that convey the notion of "purity" in the widest sense, including those on hygiene, language purification, culture, and patriotic education.