Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
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FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]
firstname.lastname [at]

Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2016-2017

Dilyara Suleymanova, University of Zurich, Switzerland
"Schooling the sense of belonging: education, language and politics of identity in post-Soviet Tatarstan, Russia"
(January 2017)

Dilyara Suleymanova is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Zurich. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Zurich with the fellowship from the Asia and Europe University Research Priority Program. Her dissertation, based on an ethnographic fieldwork in public and religious schools of a small town in the Republic of Tatarstan, explores how Russian educational reforms play out locally and how education is implicated in the central, regional and local politics of belonging. Her research interests include politics of education and language, ethnicity and identity, post-Soviet Islam and Islamic education as well as more recently studies of conflict in the context of migration/diaspora. She published among others on Islamic education in Tatarstan, on politics of language and on Tatar youth identities on social networking sites. Her article on politics of education in post-Soviet Russia is forthcoming in the journal Europe-Asia (2017).

Short description of ongoing research:
At the Aleksanteri Institute I will be working on completing my book project on the politics of education in post-Soviet Tatarstan, Russia. The overarching political framework of the study are the educational developments and reforms that were implemented in Russia since 2000 that changed center-region relations in Russia and strengthened the role of education in forming a national, state-centered identity. This book project looks at how these developments were received in Tatarstan and how they played out locally, in a small, multi-ethnic town in Tatarstan. As an anthropological study based on a long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two public schools and in a religious school (madrasa) (2009-2012), this project reveals the ways education is implicated in the central (federal), regional and local politics of identity and belonging. It gives a perspective on how local population on the ground – teachers, parents, schoolchildren – reacts to and deals with educational policies and developments. At the same time it offers micro-level ethnographic accounts of the ways belonging is transmitted, constructed, negotiated and challenged within the classrooms and beyond. While some of the most recent political developments that have affected the Russian school curriculum could not be included into the research, I hope to be able to obtain and include some data on it into the final manuscript.


Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Kaarina Aitamurto, Andrey Starodubtsev