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Dr. Razia Sultanova

Dr. Razia Sultanova

Visiting Research Fellow


I was educated at the Tashkent State conservatory and the Moscow State conservatory, where I was granted a PhD under the supervision of Professor Valentina Kholopova. Having lived in France and Germany before I moved to the UK in 1994, I have in recent decades conducted intensive fieldwork across the Central Asian republics, Caucasus, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, publishing in English, German, French, Chinese, Russian and Uzbek, and focusing on the role of music in society, music and religion, music and identity, gender and music and performance studies. I have published four monographic books and three edited volumes (in Russian, French and English), numerous articles in peer reviewed journals, and 31 items in The New Grove  Dictionary of Music and Musicians,  as well as contributing to The Garland Encyclopaedia of World Music and Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. I am also the author of nine CDs and a documentary film on “Music of the Uzbeks of Northern Afghanistan” (2013).

I worked in Moscow at the Union of the Soviet Composers, the Russian Institute of Art Studies, and the Moscow State Conservatory; after moving to the West I worked at Bamberg University, and later at Goldsmiths College and SOAS,  University of London. Since 2008 I have worked at the Cambridge Central Asian Forum within the Cambridge Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, where in  December 2012  I organized an international conference on “Popular culture in Turkic Asia and Afghanistan”, and in March 2013 a Navruz Concert  with 80 performers from the Turkic speaking world.  I have acted as a music consultant for several international organizations like Turksoy and UNESCO.

I have been the recipient of a number of international grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (1993), Institut Français d'Etudes sur l'Asie Centrale (1996, 1997), British Academy (2003, 2005, 2008), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (2004-2007). Following the publication of the second edition of my monograph about the musical traditions of the Islamic world, From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam and culture in Central Asia (I.B. Tauris, 2011), I have recently delivered a new book to the publisher, Popular Culture of Afghanistan, which was supported by the British Council (2011-2014). I am a Co-Chair of the 43rd ICTM World Conference in Astana, Kazakhstan and  currently hold Visiting Professorships at the Kazakh National University of Arts (Astana) and Khoja Ahmet Yasawi International  Kazakh-Turkish University (Turkistan). I am keen to share my knowledge with broader public, regularly appearing on the BBC World Service radio and TV programs  on music and culture.