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Tracing the Tangled Threads of Kyrgyz Identity

To be human is to be complex and messy - None of us are simple.


Sometimes, in our attempt to achieve cross-cultural understanding, we simplify each other. But when we do this, we're doing each other a disservice. 

This map takes you on a journey that mimics my own journey in understanding a small piece of human identity in Kyrgyzstan.


I've divided the story of religious identity into "perspectives" that look at Kyrgyzstan's history, culture, architecture, and the experiences of individuals. 

Historical Perspective

Learn about the history of religion in Kyrgyzstan, starting back when the Kyrgyz people were nomads all the way up to present-day! It's a journey through time. 


Cultural Perspective

Explore Kyrgyz culture and how religion and spirituality are preserved in its traditions, customs, and beliefs.


Human Perspective

Discover how people make sense of their religious beliefs by meeting some of the wonderful people I met on this journey. 


Architectural Perspective

See the different types of mosques in Kyrgyzstan and the stories within their design and structure.


To access the different perspectives, click on the menu icon next to the map's title and then select the check box next to the individual layers to access that layer. 


Within each perspective, each of the icons are numbered - If you go in chronological order, you'll learn about religious identity in Kyrgyzstan the way I did.


However, you don't have to go in order; each of the stories on the map can stand alone. 

Not all of the points are in Kyrgyzstan, so be sure to zoom in and out to see the story in a larger, global context!

As you explore this map, think about how you see the world and why you see the world the way that you do.


What tangled threads have shaped your beliefs?

This research would not have been possible without the support of Fulbright, National Geographic, my mentor, Reza, the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, and the American University in Central Asia.

To all of these organizations, my host family, friends, and everyone who invited me into their homes and allowed me the privilege of listening to their stories, thank you. 

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