In eastern Tajikistan, the Trans-Pamir Highway flows through the mountains creating a lunar-like landscape. In his latest work, Azan on the Moon: Entangling Modernity Along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), Dr. Till Mostowlansky
explores the lives of individuals who live alongside the highway. From the myth of Neil Armstrong hearing the azan while landing on the moon to fascinating interviews, Azan on the Moon
uses rich ethnographic sources to illustrate how modernity is both enforced and challenged in the Pamir region. Mostowlanksy complicates our understanding of modernity as individuals who once were on the forefront of the Soviet modernizing project during the building of the Pamir highway now navigate life on the margins of the Tajik state. His work demonstrates how marginality and modernity are not mutually exclusive, but rather, are interconnected in the Pamir mountains.
Till Mostowlansky is an Ambizione Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon is a History Instructor at Lee College.