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Swetlana Torno

Graduate Student

Swetlana Torno


  • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Adjunct lecturer at the Institute of Anthropology at Heidelberg University

Contact information

Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies
Voßstraße 2, Building 4400
Room 117
69115 Heidelberg

+49 (0) 6221 54 4329

About Swetlana Torno

Ph.D. Project: Shifting Care in Women's Life Courses. An ethnographic study of familial care obligations and practices in Tajikistan.

Swetlana joined the cluster in July 2013 as a Ph.D. student in the Junior Research Group "Demographic Turn in the Junction of Cultures" supervised by Dr. Sophie Roche.

In 2011 she graduated from the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Tuebingen University. For her Master thesis "About the Concept of the Person in Kyrgyz Rituals Accompanying Pregnancy, Child Birth, and the First Year of Life of a Child" she conducted 3 month of field research at the lake Yssyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

Her research interests are Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of the Body, Family and Reproduction, Ritual, Tradition and Modernity, Social Security and Care, Central Asia and Post Soviet Studies.


Curriculum vitae

Academic Background

since June 2013 Ph.D. researcher in JRG "Demographic Turn in the Junction of Cultures" Cluster of Excellence, Heidelberg University.

2011/08: Magistra Artium (M.A.) with distinction in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Geography and Biology at Tuebingen University. Master Thesis "Zum Konzept der Person in kirgisischen Ritualen um Schwangerschaft, Geburt und während des ersten Lebensjahres" based on ethnographic field work at Lake Yssyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

2008-2009: Participant at the Class for Advanced Studies at the Forum Scientiarum (Tuebingen University); Title “Evolution of the Brain – Reality of the Mind”

2006-2007: One-year study abroad at the McGill University, Montreal, Canada


2018/10: CASCA-Workshop Ideas and Practices: Exploring Economic and Social Transformation in Central Asia, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany, October 11–13.

2017/10: CESS 2017 18th Annual Conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, October 5-8.

2017/06: AAGE 2017 "Culture, Commitment and Care across the Life Course", Oxford Brooks University, Oxford, United Kingdom, June 8-9.

2015/10: ESCAS XIV "Central Asia in the 21st Century: Historical trajectories, contemporary challenges and everyday encounters", Zurich, Switzerland. October, 8-11.

2014/11: Organization of the International Symposium “The Family in History of Central Asia”, Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg. Together with Sophie Roche and Said Reza Kazemi. November, 26-28.

2013/07: Organisation of the Symposium “Dinge auf Reisen. Souvenirs, Handelsgüter, Bedeutungsträger?“, 2. Tübinger Schlosstagung. July, 6.

2012/05: DAAD Alumni Conference, Varzob/Dushanbe, Tajikistan. May, 5-6.

Papers presented:

2018/10: "Growing up in Kulob: Care work, linked lives and trajectories of young girls approaching graduation." CASCA 2018 Ideas and practices: Exploring economic and social transformation in Central Asia, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany, October 11–13.

2017/10: "Mothers in Sorrow: On the Interrelations of Love, Care and Aging in Tajikistan." CESS 2017 18th Annual Conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. October, 5-8.

2017/06: "Old Age Care as a Life Course Management Strategy: Perspectives from Women's Lives in Tajikistan." AAGE 2017 "Culture, Commitment and Care across the Life Course", Oxford Brookes University. June, 8-9.

2014/11: "Marriage and migration: The interrelations of labor migration, wedding gifts and the Law on Ritual Regulations in Tajikistan." International symposium “The Family in History of Central Asia”, IWH Heidelberg. November, 26-28.

2012/05: "Body, Reproduction and Medical Pluralism in Tajikistan." DAAD Alumni Conference, Varzob/Dushanbe. May, 5-6.

Invited Lectures and Presentations

2017/02: "Familial care obligations and practices in the context of labor migration in Tajikistan." Lecture at the Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium on Migration, Institute of Public Health, Heidelberg University. February, 10.

2016/11: "Insides and Outsides of the ‘Caring Ideal’: Caring Mothers and Absent Children in Tajikistan." Invited lecture at the Medical Anthropology Forum, SAI, Heidelberg University. November, 14.

2016/05: "Spaces of Love, Freedom and Beauty? Young Women in Tajikistan between Parental Home, Education and Marriage." Invited lecture at CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris. May, 9.

Public Outreach

Swetlana Torno interviewed by CAA Network on „A Narrative about Care: How to Be a Woman in Tajikistan” (in Russian and English). December, 20, 2017.

Participation at the Interdisciplinary Exchange "Gender in Research and Practice", GIZ, Eschborn, Germany. July, 18, 2017.

Swetlana Torno interviewed by Tohir Safar for Radio Ozodi/Radio Free Europe on her ongoing research. March, 11, 2017.

Swetlana Torno interviewed Kurbongul Kosimova for the Women of Achievement-rubric, UN Women, the Beijing Platform for Action Turns 20. Published on 20 October 2014.

Swetlana Torno interviewed by Biloli Shams (2014) „Dar Arzhoi Dusti” (about ethnography and ethnographic fieldwork in Tajikistan). In: Bonuvoni Tojikiston, pp. 36-37. (In Tajik).

Memberships and Professional Experience (selection)

2016/10-2015/11: Elected member of the executive committee of the Doctoral Students Convention, Heidelberg University.

since November 2013 consultation and writing support of the NGO Najoti Kudakon, Kulob, Tajikistan.

2012/05-06: Consultant at the Swiss Center of International Health of Swiss Tropical Institute Office in the Republic of Tajikistan (Project Sino); field study and report on maternal and infant mortality in Kulob, South Tajikistan

2009-2007: Coordinator of the internships program for B.A. and M.A. students, Department of Anthropology, Institute for Asian and Oriental Studies, Tuebingen University.

Seminars, Workshops and Summer Schools

2015/06: Workshop “Ethnographic Creative Writing” by Prof. Richard Wolf (Harvard), Anthropology Department, Heidelberg University. June, 9 and 11.

2015/04: 7th Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Student Workshop “Ethnographic Research”, Working Group “Ethnographic Writing”, University of Marburg. April, 10-12.

2012/09: Participation at the Language Summer School “Tajik in Dushanbe” funded by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

2009/08: Participation at the Summer School “Human-Environment-Interactions along the Silk Roads” in Kyrgyzstan, funded by DAAD

Research Experience

2013/2014: Eleven months field research for Ph.D. thesis in Kulob, Tajikistan.

2012/05: Two weeks field study on maternal and infant mortality for Project Sino, Swiss Center of International Health. Study in Kulob region, Tajikistan.

2009/02-04: Field research for M.A. thesis on rituals surrounding pregnancy and birth at the lake Yssykköl, North Kyrgyzstan

2007/07-10: Participation at a field research laboratory on Crimea, Ukrain, organized and conducted by Prof. Dr. I. Stellrecht

Selected publications

Торно, Светлана (2018) «Таджикское по содержанию – советское по форме? Таджикский политический дискурс применительно к женщинам.» Рош, С. (ред.) Семья в Центральной Азии: новые перспективы изучения. Берлин: Клаус Шварц.

Torno, Swetlana (2018) How Relations Make Persons. Rituals Accompanying Childbirth and Socialization of Infants in Kyrgyzstan. In: Central Asian Affairs, No. 5 (2), pp. 111-133.

Torno, Swetlana (2017) Tajik in Content—Soviet in Form? Reading Tajik Political Discourse on and for Women. In: Roche, Sophie (ed.) The Family in Central Asia: New Perspectives. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag.

Torno, Swetlana (2015) Zum Konzept der Person in kirgisischen Ritualen um Schwangerschaft, Geburt und während des ersten Lebensjahres. Magisterarbeit. Universität Tübingen.

Torno, Swetlana (2015) Genderideologien zwischen Normalität und Realität. In: CARGO – Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, No. 35, pp. 66-73.

Torno, Swetlana; Costa, João (2012) Study on Maternal and Infant Mortality. An Investigation of Reporting Processes and Perspectives of Medical Staff. Consultant Report. Tajik-Swiss Health Reform and Family Medicine Support Project.