You can see how a city falls

I’ve just returned from a trip to south Kazakhstan over the May holidays. Above is my favorite photo from the trip, a shot of the hillside carved away at the ruins of Otyrar. If you imagine a nice big mud-brick roundhouse with strong cross-beams… and then see the house…

Wedding traditions in America

Having written on Kazakh weddings for American readers, I’d also like to cover a Real American wedding for my Kazakh readers. Three months after the Kazakh wedding, I attended a family wedding in America. (See also the way comedian Stephen Colbert officiated a wedding this week, in the wake of the American government shutdown: here and here.)…

Wedding traditions in Kazakhstan

While taking language classes last summer, I scored an invite to a Real Kazakh Wedding. A few years ago, our research team interrupted huddled marriage negotiations in a Mongolian yurt, to ask marginally relevant questions about citizenship. And we were invited into a six-hour wedding’s eve party in another town. And…