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Judith Beyer

Judith Beyer is a Professor of Anthropology (tenure track) at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

Judith Beyer
Legal Anthropologist

Legal and political anthropology of Central and Southeast Asia with a focus on questions of legal pluralism, constitutionalism, authority, state-making, statelessness and the role of (ethnic and religious) minorities.

Expert specifically deals with (when concerning Bangladesh) Rohingya asylum cases on this ethnic group.


Since 2015: Associate Member of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS).

2013 Trainer.  Conceptualizing and carrying out a workshop on Oral History: Qualitative Research Methods and Analysis for the Weltfriedensdienst WFD), Mandalay, Myanmar. December 21-22, 2013.

2013 Consultant.  Providing written expert opinion on interethnic relations in Central Asia as part of a sociological study carried  out by the Institute for Socio-Political Research for the Kazakhstani Ministry of Culture.

2012 Country of Origin Expert (COI) for the Fahamu Refugee Programme (FRP).

2012 Consultant for the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Designing a qualitative study on 'Price rises and food security in the context of Kyrgyzstan's Customs Union accession' (Sept. 2012).

2010  Advisor for United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Expertise on the preparation of a report on ‘The responsibility of the aksakal courts to protect property and inheritance rights of women’ (in Russian). Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (Oct. 2010).

2008  Consultant for the International Council on Human Rights. Expertise on the preparation of a report on ‘Human Rights, State and Non-State Law’. Geneva, Switzerland (Nov. 2008).

2007 Consultant for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Writing a report on legal, political, and economic development strategies in Kyrgyzstan (Aug. 2007).

2003 Internship at Institute for Regional Studies (IFRS) (city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan).

2000 Internship at Centre for Social Work (city of Tübingen, Germany)

1999-2000 Internship at Asylum Centre (city of Tübingen, Germany) 


2016. The force of custom. Law and the ordering of everyday life in Kyrgyzstan. University of Pittsburgh Press.

Houses of Islam. Muslims, property rights and the state in Myanmar. In: Crouch, Melissa (ed.): 
Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging. Oxford University Press, pp.127-155.

Finding the law in Myanmar. For Anthropology Today. 31,4. pp.3-7.

Customizations of law. Courts of elders (aksakal courts) in rural and urban Kyrgyzstan. PoLAR. Special issue: edited by Melissa Demian. Volume 38,1. pp. 53-71.

(with Felix Girke) Practicing harmony ideology. Ethnographic reflections on community and coercion. Common Knowledge. Special issue: Peace by other means. Symposium on the role of ethnography and the humanities in the understanding, prevention, and resolution of enmity. Part 3, edited by Jeffrey Perl. Volume 21,2. pp. 196-235.

2014. (together with Madeleine Reeves and Johan Rasanayagam) Ethnographies of the state in Central Asia. Performing politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2013. Constitutional faith. Law and hope in revolutionary Kyrgyzstan. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology.

2014. ‘There is this law.’ Performing the state in the Kyrgyz courts of elders. In: Reeves, Madeleine, Johan Rasanayagam and Judith Beyer (eds.): Ethnographies of the state in Central Asia. Performing politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2010.  Ethnonationalismus in Kirgistan. Die Ereignisse im Juni 2010. Zentralasien-Analysen. 31-32. pp. 11-14.

2010.  Kyrgyzstan. Referendum in a time of upheaval.

2010. Television Interview for 3Sat/Kulturzeit  ‘Wahlen in Kirgistan’. 28.06.2010 (Quelle "3sat/Kulturzeit").

2010. Radio Interview for Deutschlandradio Kultur. ‘Ethnologin: Die ethnische Karte gespielt. Judith Beyer über den Konflikt in Kirgistan’. 21.06.2010.

German (native), English (fluent), Russian (good), Kyrgyz (good), French (good), Myanma (beginner)
Ethnic groups expertise
Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Turkmen, Tajik, Uzbek, Kachin, Karen, Chin, Bamar, Rohingya.
Religious groups expertise
Those of the ethnic groups mentioned above.
[Private to EIN members]
[Private to EIN members]
[Private to EIN members]