UCL Anthropology


Aeron O'Connor


UCL Email: aeron.oconnor.09@ucl.ac.uk
Websites: https://ucl.academia.edu/AeronOConnor
Year of Start: 2014
Supervisors: Dr Alex Pillen & Professor Victor Buchli
Subject: Social Anthropology
Fieldsite: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

PhD Research

Syntheses of knowledge and networks of cultural production in and through Tajik cities

My current research explores the lives of cultural producers, or intelligentsia, of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. By tracing the lives of multiple generations of artists and scholars, this project aims to reflect on how ideas and artistic/literary movements were produced, used, shared and transformed during Tajikistan's fast-changing history. The research focuses on the longue durée of knowledge production and social consciousness over the past century with the arrival and collapse of Communism and the following 25 years of national independence. The lives, ambitions and projects of Tajik cultural producers highlight the successes and failures of Soviet ideology, and the varied and conflicting frameworks of social change that different social groups and generations of people think and work within.

Within this, I am also interested in questions of being post-colonial or not, or of being described as post-anything. This feeling entails being more than just Soviet and hence, through oral histories, I am exploring the exchange of ideas across geo-political spheres during Soviet times. Part of this has involved spending time in Lahore, Pakistan to research South-Central Asian cultural dialogues from the 1960s to the early 1990s.

Research Interests

  • Knowledge production
  • Transnational intellectual dialogues
  • Urban life
  • Pakistan
  • Historicity
  • Mobility & travel
  • Anthropology of language

Presentations & Conferences

2017. AAA (Washington DC, USA).Panel: 'The Anthropology of Anachronism: On Historical Failure, Obsolescence and Other Space-Times of Political Possibility'. Paper: Syntheses of knowledge: decolonisation of Central Asian thought and re-appropriation of Soviet intellect amongst cultural producers of Tajikistan.
2017. Associazione per lo Studio in Italia dell'Asia Centrale e del Caucaso (ASIAC) Conference (Torino, Italy).Paper: Scambi e dialoghi culturali tra il Tagichistan e Pachistan negl'anni Sovietici.
2016. 'Inter-Regional Connectivity: South Asia and Central Asia' Conference (GC University, Lahore, Pakistan).Paper: Sounds and Words that Bring: Tajik-Pakistani Cultural Ties.
2016. Co-Organised & Presented at UNESCO Conference 'Music of the New Silk Road: from peacebuilding perspectives of Central Asia' (Dushanbe, Tajikistan).Paper: From La Scala to Dushanbe and back again: Observations on Tajik-Italian Opera Dialogues.
2015. Organised Panel & Presented at STADTKOLLOQUIUM 6TH ANNUAL WORKSHOP, UCL.   Panel: Cosmopolitanism's referential dissonance. Paper: Tajik Lost Cities, Mute Dreams and Deep Play.
2014. RAI Anthropology & Photography ConferencePaperNeorealism - Engaging with, and Transforming, Folklore and the 'Real'.
2013. Theoretical Archaeology Group-On-Sea 2013 ConferencePanel: "Archaeology & Anthropology: squabbling siblings, star-crossed lovers or bitter enemies?" Paper: Digital Taphonomy: data management as a social process of narrating, presenting and constructing the subject.
2013. National University of Mongolia  Paper: Digital Anthropology, an introduction.

Education History

  • PhD Social Anthropology, UCL (ongoing, AHRC/LAHP funded)
  • MSc Digital Anthropology, UCL (2013, Distinction)
  • BSc Archaeology & Anthropology, UCL (2012, First Class)

Honours, Awards & Funding

  • AHRC/LAHP Doctoral Studentship (2014-2017)
  • Peter J Ucko Prize for Archaeology & Anthropology (June 2012)

Additional Information

Co-founder of Interdisciplinary Central Asia & Caucasus Reading Group in London.