Ulan Z. Bigozhin received a PhD in Anthropology from the Indiana University, Bloomington in the Spring of 2017. His primary research interests are in religion, nationalism, patrimonial relations and state building in post-Soviet Kazakhstan, with a focus on the question of how religion (Kazakh Muslim sacred places veneration) is involved into state and nation building processes on the ground level. His dissertation is entitled “Shrine, State and Sacred Lineage in post-Soviet Kazakhstan”, where he conducted field research in the areas of Ekibastuz (Northern Kazakhstan) on the sacred shrine complex of Isabek Ishan. In his dissertation he shows that state, local business and sacred lineage descendants (qozhas) are deeply involved into state and nation building process via shrine complex restoration.
In Dec. 2017 “Nation Building and a School Play in a Kazakh Saint’s Jubilee” in Central Asian Affairs.
Currently working on the article entitled “Where is our honor?” - how sport is used to create a masculine authority for Kazakh Muslims” for conference “Islam and Media in Central Asia”, Sept-Oct 2017 at George Washington University (GWU).
2016 Shrines and Neopatrimonialism in Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan in the Making: Legitimacy, Symbols, and Social Changes, Marlene Laruelle (ed.). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 89-110. (with Wendell Schwab)
2015 Religion and the Nation-State in Kazakhstan: Some Insights from Fieldwork in Aqkol. Central Eurasia – Religion in International Affairs (CERIA). http://ceria initiative.org/?p=293