Julie McBrien

Julie McBrien is a tenured Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, and a Senior Research and co-coordinator of the ERC project Problematizing Muslim Marriages at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. Her book, From Belonging to Belief: modern secularisms and the construction of religion in Kyrgyzstan is forthcoming with Pittsburgh University Press. She has also published her work in journals like JRAI, Critique of Anthropology, Anthropology Today, and Material Religion. She works on issue of religion, secularism, Muslim identity, post-Socialism, and politics as well as on young women’s lives focusing especially on work, marriage and family life. Her research has been funded by grants from the European Research Council, the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Max Planck Gesellschaft, and the Social Science Research Council, New York. She received her PhD from the Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg in conjunction with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.


McBrien, Julie, under review ‘On Mothers and Daughters-in-law_Structure: Case Study in Context’ in D. Montgomery (ed.), Central Asia in Context: A Thematic Introduction to the Region. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press.

McBrien, Julie, 2017, From Belonging to Belief: Modern secularisms and the construction of religion in Kyrgyzstan. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press.


McBrien, Julie, ‘Religious Landscapes and Muslim Marriages in Kyrgyzstan,’ presentation at the Eurasian National University Astana, Kazakhstan, August 2013.

McBrien, Julie, ‘Dreams and Disillusions of young Kyrgyz Women’, paper presented at Social Science Research Colloquium, Nazarbayev University, Astana, KazakhstanAugust 2013.

McBrien, Julie, ‘Problematic Marriages in Kyrgyzstan’, presentation at the American University of Central Asia Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, September 10, 2015.

McBrien, Julie, ‘Conflicting matters of concern – bride abduction and human rights in Kyrgyzstan’, paper presented at the Conference ‘Development and Modernization in the (post)Soviet Periphery,’ University of Amsterdam and the Central Asia Program of the George Washington University, Leiden, September 25-26, 2015.

McBrien, Julie, ‘(Im)proper Marriage in Kyrgyzstan’, presentation at the Senior Research Symposium ‘Mixing and Matching: Trends in Muslim Marriages, February 26th, 2016, University of Malta

McBrien, Julie, ‘Making Sense of Troubled Lives’. Presentation for the Program Group Globalizing Culture, University of Amsterdam, March 17, 2016.

McBrien, Julie, ‘Materializing Politics through Marriage’. Presentation for a joint seminar of the Department of Anthropology and the Gender Studies Department. May 11th, 2016. European University Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

McBrien, Julie, 2017, ‘On Choice in Bride Abduction’ Invited lecture given at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Departmental Lecture Series,  21 March 2017.

McBrien, Julie, 2017, ‘The Tricky Matter of Defining Religion’  invited lecture given at the Central Asia Program, Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Elliot School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 27 April 2017.

McBrien, Julie, 2017, ‘Difficult Research’ lecture given at the Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam,  12 October 2017.

Leave a Reply