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.