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The Future of Central Asian Studies

Institute for Advanced Study, University of Konstanz


Organised by Judith Beyer and Madeleine Reeves

The last three years have seen a flourishing of anthropological and historical monographs on Central Asia. We propose an innovative workshop format that seeks to launch several of these recent monographs and to use a discussion of their findings as a basis for reflection on the future of Central Asian studies. The workshop will facilitate a series of focused discussions that emerge from bringing the texts into conversation with one another. How can material from Central Asia inform conceptual debates about order, knowledge,  modernity, empire, religion and resources in the widest sense? What can be gained from drawing together anthropological and historical scholarship on law and empire, or dynamics of peace and conflict? How can we better integrate the history and anthropology of Afghanistan to allow comparison with the rest of Central Asia?

Day 1: 12-09-2017

Panel I: Ordering

Discussants: Madeleine Reeves, Tim Epkenhans, Timothy Nunan


Books to be discussed:

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

Botakoz Kassymbekova. 2016. Despite cultures. Early Soviet rule in Tajikistan. University of Pittsburgh Press

Christian Teichmann. 2016. Macht der Unordnung. Stalins Herrschaft in Zentralasien 1920-1950. Hamburger Edition

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Panel III: Islam

Discussants: Till Mostowlansky, Eva-Marie Dubuisson, Aksana Ismailbekova


Books to be discussed:

Julie Billaud. 2015. Kabul carnival. Gender and politics in postwar Afghanistan. Pennsylvania University Press

Magnus Marsden. 2016. Trading worlds. Afghan merchants across modern frontiers. Hurst

David Montgomery. 2016. Practicing Islam. Knowledge, experience and social navigation in Kyrgyzstan. University of Pittsburgh Press.

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Day 2: 13-09-2017

Panel IV: Nation

Discussants: Julie McBrien, Mateusz Laszczkowski, Jeanne Feaux de la Croix

Books to be discussed:

Tim Epkenhans. 2016. The origins of the civil war in Tajikistan. Nationalism, islamism, and violent conflict in post-soviet states. Lexington Books

Adeeb Khalid. 2015. Making Uzbekistan: nation, empire and revolution in the early USSR. Cornell University Press

Timothy Nunan. 2016. Humanitarian invasion: Global development in cold war Afghanistan. Cambridge University Press.

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Panel V: Kinship and Belonging

Discussants: David Montgomery, Julie Billaud, Judith Beyer


Books to be discussed:

Eva-Marie Dubuisson. 2017. Living language in Kazakhstan. The dialogic emergence of an ancestral worldview. University of Pittsburgh Press

Aksana Ismailbekova. 2017. Blood ties and the native son. Indiana University Press

Julie McBrien. 2017. From belonging to belief. Modern secularisms and the construction of religion in Kyrgyzstan. University of Pittsburgh Press.

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