Dr. Gulnisa Nazarova is a native speaker of Uyghur. Her parents are originally from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. They left the country in 1959, and Gulnisa was born in Kyrgyzstan in 1966. The family then moved to Uzbekistan in 1970, and in 1982 Gulnisa graduated from high school in the Tashkent Region. 

She entered the Philology Department at Ivanovo State University (Russia) and in 1987 defended a thesis on comparative Russian and Uyghur syntax. In 1989, she entered the doctoral program at the Institute of Uyghur Studies in Almaty (Kazakhstan), and in 1992 defended a doctoral dissertation on Uyghur lexicology. In April 1993, Gulnisa received her Ph.D. in Philological Sciences from the Kazakh Institute of Linguistics (also in Almaty). 

From 1994 to 2005, she worked as a Senior Lecturer in the Turkology Department at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Tashkent, where she taught Uyghur, Comparative Lexicology of Turkic Languages, Theoretical Grammar of Turkic Languages, Lexicology of Turkish, Introduction to Linguistics, and Methods for Teaching Turkic Languages. Her research interests are comparative lexicology of Turkic languages, problems of etymology, ethnography, and interactive methods of teaching. 

She came to IU in 2005 to teach Intermediate Uyghur at SWSEEL. The faculty then invited her to continue teaching through CEUS. During the academic year she teach four levels of Uyghur and during the summer she teaches an Intensive Uyghur course for SWSEEL. She also works at CELCAR as a developer of learning materials, including online reading and listening comprehension materials, and multimedia materials for Uyghur learners.


  • 1992 Ph.D., Philological Sciences, Institute of Linguistics, Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • 1982 - 1987 MA and BA in Russian Language and Literature, Ivanovo State University, Russia



  • Uyghur language and culture;
  • Comparative lexicology of Turkic languages;
  • Problems of Etymology;
  • Ethnography;
  • Methods of Teaching;
  • Uyghur migration in 1950s and 1960s from Xinjiang to the Soviet Central Asia (current).



  • In July 2021 became a member of the Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors:
  • 2020 Recognized in the book “Uyghurs: Encyclopedic Dictionary,” Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2020.
  • 2020 Article by Ablet Kamalov “Gulnisa Nazarova is the main expert of Uyghur language at Indiana University” in the magazine ‘Akhbarat’, Almaty.
  • 2019 Article by Gulnar Eziz “Uyghur Language at the Universities in the United States,” Radio Free Asia news.
  • 2015 Recognized in the book “Uyghur Women Scholars” (Уйгурские женщины-ученые), Almaty, page 144-145.
  • 2015 Trustees Teaching Award in the At-Large NTT Faculty competition.
  • 2014 Ablet Kamalov “The Voices of Tengritagh: An Uyghur Textbook for English speakers,” in the newspaper ‘Asia today’ (in Russian), №18 (0190).
  • 2014 Ablet Kamalov “Täŋritağdin sada” in the newspaper ‘The Voice of Uyghurs,’
  • 2008 Willodine Hopkins “Gulnisa Nazarova” in the book Solomon’s Legacy, pages 125-127




  • Gulnisa Nazarova & Kurban Niyaz “Uyghur: An Intermediate Textbook” Georgetown University Pres, 2016
  • Gulnisa Nazarova & Kurban Niyaz “Uyghur: An Elementary Textbook” Georgetown University Press, 2013
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Lexicology of the Turkish language,” Tashkent ,2003
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Introduction to linguistics,” Tashkent, 2000



  • G.Sh. Nazarova & Z.S. Imyarova, The repatriation policy of the USSR and the peculiarities of Uighurs’ migration from the PRC in the 1950s, Scientific Journals, 2021
  • Gulnisa Nazarova & Gardner Bovingdon (2020) “Sinophobic Sentiments: Uyghur Emigres in the Years of the Sino-Soviet Rift”
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Land of Peril, Land of Promise: Uyghur Migration in the Mid XX Century Central Asia” (2019) in the book: “Uyghur Studies in Kazakhstan and Central Asia,” Almaty, Kazakhstan.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova & Gardner Bovingdon (2018) “Uyghur migration from China to Soviet Central Asia in the 1950s and 1960s”
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Teaching Uyghur at Indiana University” (2015) in French and Uyghur in the journal “Uyghurlargha Nezer,” Paris, France.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Ustazimning Ejri Bar” (2015) in the Uyghur newspaper “Uyghur Avazi,” Almaty.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “One of the modern classics of Uyghur Studies” (2009) in Russian: “Один из современных классиков уйгуроведения” in the book “Selected works of Gojahmet Sadvakasov”, Almaty.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Indo-European Elements in Turkic Phytonyms (based on Uyghur, Uzbek, Kazakh and Turkish languages)” (2005) Indo- German and Non- Indo-German languages and literary communication, Muenster, Germany.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “The Function of Chinese Phytonyms in Modern Uyghur” (2004) The Cultural, Literary and Language Dealings of Chinese with Central Asia: now and before, Tashkent.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Etymology of Some Turkic Phytonyms,” (2003) Philological science of the new century: problems and decisions, Tashkent.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Sanskrit Elements in Modern Turkic Languages” (2002) Materials of the international seminar, Tashkent.
  • Gulnisa Nazarova “Chinese Elements in Modern Uyghur” (1997) Materials of the Conference “Cultural Connections” at the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent.
  • “My Mother’s Legacy” (in Uyghur) in the journal “Tőtqulaq balilar Jornili,” June 2021
  • “The Holidays I Missed” (In Uyghur) in the newspaper “Ittipaq,” Bishkek, November, 2009
  • Four of my short stories in Uyghur (“My Mother’s Legacy,” “At the Grave,” “Yapma,” “To my daughter”) were aired on the Radio “Dostuk” in Bishkek, 2018



  • Oner Ozcelik, Kurban Niyaz, Meaghan Gallegos “Uyghur Grammar Book,” 2019-2020
  • G. Sadvakasov “Uyghur Orthography Dictionary,” Second edition, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 2013 (in Uyghur)
  • Edited Uyghur Reading and Listening Testing Items for Defence Language Institute, Monterey, CA (2012-2013)


  • Indiana University (2005-2020)
  • Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced, Post-Advanced Uyghur and Uyghur for Heritage speakers, CEUS
  • Culture course titled: “Central Asia: Cultures and Customs” (in English)
  • Introductory and Intermediate Uyghur at the Summer Workshop in Slavic and East European Languages (SWSEEL)
  • Introductory Uzbek at the Summer Workshop in Slavic and East European Languages (SWSEEL)
  • University of Wisconsin (2016, 2018, 2019)
  • Introductory/ Intermediate Uyghur, at the Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute
  • University of Michigan (2018-2020)
  • Elementary Uyghur (Distance)
  • Yale University (Spring 2009)
  • Intensive Uyghur (Distance)
  • Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies (1994-2005)
  • Introductory and Intermediate Uyghur as a second foreign language
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • General Linguistics
  • Methods of teaching the Turkish Language
  • Turkic Lexicology