Gendered coal struggles at the margins - the work of men, women and children in an informal/artisanal mine in post-Soviet Tajikistan


Academic Profile

Negar is a French/Iranian 3rd year Dphil candidate in Development Geography at the School of Geography and the Environment and a member of the Transformations Research Cluster. After several years working as an environmental and social executive for an international energy project in South-East Asia, she graduated in 2012 with a first class degree in Environment and Development from King's College London. Her Masters dissertation, which received the Best thesis award for her program, encapsulated her interest for the Central Asian region, her dedication to challenge mainstream development narratives and her desire to make visible overlooked political, cultural, and economic processes of change and their gendered component. Her current doctoral research explores the gendered and intergenerational socio-spatial division of work in post-Soviet Tajikistan from a feminist political ecology perspective. It particularly focuses on the work of men, women, and children in an artisanal coal mine in Northern Tajikistan.

  • 2011/2012 - 'Entente Cordiale' Scholarship (British Council)
  • 2012 - Best Thesis Award King's College London (MA Environment & Development)
  • 2013-2017 - Clarendon Scholarship (Oxford)
  • 2013-2017 - ESRC studentship

Current Research

Negar's current doctoral research is concerned with the transformation of gendered norms and identities and their relationship with the transformation of working practices at the margins of the post-Soviet space, in Tajikistan. Through her work, Negar aims to challenge the re-traditionalization narrative in Tajikistan/Central Asia which tends to associate a return to patriarchal norms in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union to a form of Islamic revival. Rather, she uses working practices as a window onto broader poltico-economic transformations and their gendered aspects. Her work is based on an 8 month ethnography in one mountainous village in Northern Tajikistan where informal mining, became along migration, the main livelihood after the fall of the Soviet Union. Negar lived with 2 different families there, taught in the local school, and participated in people's everyday. Her work revolves around 4 main themes:

  1. Women's work during the Soviet times as a way to understand the articulation and experience of the Soviet ideology in terms of gender in post-Soviet Tajikistan (based on oral histories and textual/iconographic analysis)
  2. The transformation of masculinities and their impact on the marginalization of female miners and their restricted access to natural resources
  3. Child Labour and the underlying gendered norms that legitimize it
  4. The work of women miners

Current Teaching