Autoethnographies of Spiritual Practices in Central Asia: Introduction



This special issue brings together a collection of unique autoethnographic papers, which we perceive to be novel and innovative in the context of what has been published on religion in Central Asia previously. Most of the academic literature on religion in Central Asia today is published by Western scholars,1 and the available policy reports (mostly on the topics of radicalization and extremism) which are often written in collaboration with local scholars, are sponsored by Western institutions.2 While the local Central Asian scholarship on religion is gradually gaining weight,3 its voice is still relatively muted and it is written primarily from traditional scholarly perspectives. In the concert of scholarly voices on religion in Central Asia, one choral section is missing – that of scholars who have their own personal accounts of engagement with spiritual practices and questions around the intersection of religious and scholarly identity.

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