I’ve been studying Uzbekistan for over a decade. As both an MA and a PhD student, I studied the country extensively, and was the first scholar to study Uzbek digital media in depth. Other areas of research are state and dissident politics, terrorism, propaganda, Islamic movements, exile groups, human rights, and the politics of the Uzbek-speaking diaspora. I’ve also written extensively on the massacre of civilians by state forces in Andijon in 2005, and debunked the existence of the terrorist group “Akromiya”, which the government used as a justification for the massacre.
Uzbekistan’s first and only president, Islom Karimov, is said to be gravely ill — either from a stroke or a brain hemmorrhage, depending on the source. This is a crisis moment for Uzbekistan, regardless of the outcome. Never in Uzbekistan’s history has the government released a public statement on the president having a major illness. There is no clear successor, and many rivalries within the government elites. Secrecy and gossip both rule in Uzbekistan, making the situation difficult to understand and probable outcomes difficult to determine.
Below is a full list of everything I’ve written about Uzbekistan so you will have background to understand the current crisis. Uzbeks have already endured decades of routine, quiet, state-sanctioned violence. I hope that a better and safer future lies ahead. Omon bo’ling.
Update: Karimov has died. Below are articles I wrote and interviews I did since this became clear.
This Is Hell Radio, “Lockout”, Interview on Uzbekistan (9/10/16)
Radio Free Europe, “Uzbekistan Without Karimov” (9/11/16)
Salaam Media, South Africa, interview on Uzbekistan’s past and future (9/9/16)
The Stream, Al Jazeera, “The future of Uzbekistan” (9/8/16) [Heated debate; recommended***]
Uzbekistan’s real problem is not terrorism, it’s politics (9/6/16) (Politico Europe)
Independence Day for a Scared Nation (9/1/16) (New York Times op-ed)
BBC World Service, interview on Uzbekistan about 26 minutes in. (9/3/16) [Not the greatest interview because an earthquake shook my house right before I went on! ]
Al Jazeera English, live interview on Uzbekistan (9/3/16)
CBC, Uzbeks experience “mass anxiety, mourning and worry” after president’s death (9/2/16) [***Recommended interview}
ArHaberlar Arabic-language interview on Uzbekistan (9/2/16)
MO*nieuwsbrieven “Vermist: Oezbeekse dictator. Gezocht: toekomstplan voor explosief werelddeel” (9/2/16) On Uzbekistan
Wiadomosci,”Zbliza sie koniec Islama Karimow. Kto nastanie po smierci dyktatora?” (8/31). Polish interview on Uzbekistan
2016 “Recognize the Spies”: Transparency and Political Power in Uzbek Cyberspace. Social Analysis, 59 (4): 50-65
2011 Digital Distrust: Uzbek Cynicism and Solidarity in the Internet Age
American Ethnologist 38 (3): 559-575
2010 A Reporter Without Borders: Internet Politics and State Violence in Uzbekistan
Problems of Post-Communism57 (1): 40-50
2007 Poetry of Witness: Uzbek Identity and the Response to Andijon
Central Asian Survey 26 (3): 317–334
2006 Redefining Religion: Uzbek Atheist Propaganda in Gorbachev-era Uzbekistan Nationalities Papers34 (5): 533-548
2006 Inventing Akromiya:The Role of Uzbek Propagandists in the Andijon Massacre Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 14 (4): 545–562
2016 “Nations in Transit: Uzbekistan“. Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2015
2014 “Digital Memory and a Massacre: Post-Soviet Uzbek Identity in the Age of Social Media“, Central Asia Program, Uzbekistan Initiative Papers, George Washington University. Co-written with Noah Tucker.
2014 “Nations in Transit: Uzbekistan“. Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2014
2013 “Nations in Transit: Uzbekistan“. Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2013
2012 “Digital Freedom of Expression in Uzbekistan: An example of social control and censorship in the 21st Century”. Published by the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation
MAINSTREAM MEDIA ARTICLES
Trumpmenbashi: What Central Asia’s spectacular states can tell us about authoritarianism in America (3/22/16) — The Diplomat
Dashcams for Freedom (8/5/15) — Foreign Policy
‘We Are Not Afraid’ (7/14/15) — Foreign Policy
Uzbekistan’s Forgotten Massacre (5/13/15) — The New York Times
Can Minor Languages Make Revolution? (10/1/14) — The Common Reader
The Curse of Stability in Central Asia (2/19/13) — Foreign Policy
An American dream, an exile’s nightmare (6/30/13) — Al Jazeera
Kim Kardashistan: A Violent Dictator’s Daughter on a Quest for Pop Stardom (8/8/12) — The Atlantic
Censorship as Performance Art: Uzbekistan’s Bizarre Wikipedia Ban (2/23/12) — The Atlantic
The Strange Saga of a Made-Up Activist and Her Life—and Death—as a Hoax (12/20/11) — The Atlantic
My archive on Central Asia from Registan
INTERVIEWS ABOUT UZBEKISTAN
The Future of Central Asian Studies: A Eulogy keynote at Indiana University (3/7/15)
Here and There with Dave Marash, hour-long interview on Central Asian politics (9/1/15)
This is Hell, “Journalist Sarah Kendzior explains how Uzbeks turned a hashtag against a dictatorship” (7/25/15)
BBC Uzbek, interviewed by Uzbek novelist Hamid Ismailov (6/18/15) (In Uzbek)
Crikey, “Follow Friday: @sarahkendzior, commentator and the full Kendzior” (1/24/14)
Ferghana News, Вашингтон больше не интересуют исследования Центральной Азии (“Washington losing interest in Central Asia:), interviewed (12/17/13)
VOA Uzbek, “As Uzbeks share their pain on the internet, they create their own identity”. In Uzbek. (6/12/13)
BBC Uzbek, “Three years after the tragedy in southern Kyrgyzstan, how are people getting by?” In Uzbek. (6/7/13)
Voice of America, “An American scholar analyzes Central Asia in the age of the internet”(Print interview in Uzbek) (4/14/13) (TV interview in English, original)
Voice of America, “Experts: Central Asia on the threshold of an uncertain future” (in Uzbek) (3/27/13)
The Seattle Spectator, “Speakers Address Election Fraud in Uzbekistan” (1/23/13)
Voice of America Uzbek “Sara Kendzior: O’qimishli fuqarolarga imkon bermaslik – O’zbekiston fojiasi” (“Sarah Kendzior: The tragedy of Uzbekistan is that educated citizens are being denied opportunities”) (12/20/12)
Radio Free Europe, “Gulnara Karimova takes the fight to Twitter” (11/30/12)
BBC Uzbek, “‘Twitter’ da Gulnora Karimova va ‘boshqa’lar bilan dahanaki jangnter”. (“A war of words between Gulnara Karimova and ‘others’ on Twitter”). Interview about the daughter of the dictator of Uzbekistan attacking me on Twitter (11/30/12)
BBC Uzbek, “‘Ўзбекистонда ўз ҳуқуқингни билиш давлатга қарши амал’..ми?” Uzbek-language interview about law and justice in Uzbekistan (6/19/12)
Voice of America, Russian service: “Uzbekistan has banned Wikipedia”. Interview with me on online media censorship in Uzbekistan (2/25/12)
2012 The Uzbek Opposition in Exile: Diaspora and Dissident Politics in the Digital Age
Washington University in Saint Louis, Department of Anthropology.
2006 State Propaganda on Islam in Independent Uzbekistan
Indiana University, Department of Central Eurasian Studies.
2014 “Reclaiming Ma’naviyat: Morality, Criminality and Dissident Politics in Uzbekistan”. In Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics, ed. Madeleine Reeves, Johan Rasanayagam, Judith Beyer. Indiana University Press.