2021 Global Research Trips
In 2021, Stanford Global Studies awarded Global Perspectives Grants, which are made possible through the generous support of Mr. Dapeng Zhu and Ms. Xiao Liu, to master's students from across the division for non-travel research. Read a few highlights about their experiences abroad below.
Understanding the politics of Tajikistan
RUSSIAN, EAST EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN STUDIES
As part of the capstone project for the M.A. in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, I hoped to explore the politics of Tajikistan, a country where I spent time as an undergraduate student, while contributing to the field of migration studies. I pieced together my project throughout my academic year at CREEES and developed my understanding of relevant theories and methodology through Stanford courses on the Sociology of Immigration and Qualitative Interviewing.
Though most migrants from Tajikistan live and work in the Russian Federation, there is a small but growing group of Tajikistani migrants in the European Union who have sought asylum for political purposes, since they are members of several opposition groups that were outlawed by Tajikistan’s president starting in 2015. After reading about a 2018 coalition formed between four EU-based Tajikistani opposition groups, I wanted to understand whether members of the EU-based opposition with different political visions may be cooperating due to their shared position as Tajikistanis in exile. After conducting 10 remote semi-structured interviews with Tajikistani exiles in Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Netherlands, I learned that the transnational repression tactics employed by Tajikistan’s government have greatly hindered cooperation among this group of migrants, trumping the mechanisms that may promote cooperative behavior. I am thankful for the openness and bravery of my interviewees, who shared their experiences of fleeing from their homeland, adjusting to life abroad, and hopes for political freedom in their country, and was honored to be able to elevate their voices.
With the grant, I was able to hire an interpreter to help with the interviews (as an intermediate student of Russian, my interpreter’s help was crucial in minimizing the language gap between me and the interviewees) and use a better-quality automated transcription service to organize and clean up my data. Having an opportunity to work with refugees and in research also inspired me to search for jobs in this field. To date, I have had several interviews with relevant organizations and am looking forward to a career in research.