Join us Friday October 12: Christopher Edling,“Bride Kidnapping in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan: Parallels and Divergences”
Christopher Edling received his MFA from Columbia University and worked in Kyrgyzstan as a Fulbright Creative Writing Fellow and as a communications and editing consultant for the United Nations office in Bishkek.
According to survey data, more than half of women in rural areas of Armenia experience some form of bride kidnapping during their lives. But ask representatives of civil society organizations and prominent women’s NGOs about the widespread practice, and the response is perplexing: “We do not have this in Armenia.”
Contrast this with public response to bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, where recent years have seen federal legal reforms, nationwide initiatives, international media coverage, condemnation by religious leaders, and grassroots activism, including a protest of more than one thousand people in Bishkek on June 6, 2018.
Drawing on original fieldwork and other research for the speaker’s book in progress, this talk will explore the cultural, social, economic, and political complexities surrounding bride kidnapping and attendant public responses in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. What similarities and differences are there in bride kidnapping practices between these two countries? What factors drive and perpetuate these practices? What accounts for the differences in public response? How is this issue mobilized by local and international agencies? What has changed in recent years, and what seems likely to change in the future?