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Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar

Maryam Pirdehghan

Maryam Pirdehghan, M.A.

  • PhD Candidate
Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar, Kantonsschulstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich

A PhD student experienced in investigating Indigenous societies under acute environmental conditions and extracting practical insights to identify the distractive impact of certain environmental policies on nature-based cultures. In this regard, I utilize a wide range of qualitative and ethnographic methods to analyze changes in Indigenous communities’ social orders that are tied to the health of their bioregional spaces. My specific concentration is on the religious culture of the Buryats, a Mongolian ethnic group in Russia.


  • Ph.D. Candidate in Study of Religion, Started January 2020 – University of Zurich, Switzerland. Dissertation: Collapsing Sanctity: Indigenous Buryats against Sacred Lake Baikal on Olkhon Island, Russia.
  • Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology - Sociology of Development, (September 2017 to January 2020) – The Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland.
  • M.A. in Religious Art Studies, December 2014 – Tabriz University of Islamic Arts, Iran.

Research Interests

  • Indigenous Religions
  • Ethno-ecology
  • Anthropology of Policy
  • Sociology of Religion

Geographical Region of expertise

  • Inner Asia (Siberia and Mongolia)

Manuscripts under Review

  • Disarticulated Nomos: The Buryats against Sacred Lake Baikal on Olkhon Island, The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. 
  • Transforming Home: Indigenous Society’s Religious Heritage in the Age of Environmental Problems in Nature and Culture Journal.

Conferences and Proceedings

Memberships / Affiliations

  • Student Fellow in The Royal Anthropological Institute of Britain, 2018 – present.
  • Associate Member in Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK, 2018 – present.

Awards and Acknowledgments

  • GRC Travel Grant for fieldwork in Olkhon Island, Russia, University of Zürich, 2020
  • Two-year Fellowship, Graduate Institute Geneva, 2017-2019
  • Honorable Mention, The 2019 International Photography Awards, Los Angeles, 2019


  • Persian (native)
  • English (fluent)
  • Russian(fluent)