Twenty Years of Central Asian Independence, AUCA, Bishkek, Oct 14-16

Twenty Years of Central Asian Independence: Shared Past, Separate Paths?

The First Annual Conference of the Central Asian Studies Institute (CASI) of the American University of Central Asia, 14-16 October 2011, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.

Since gaining independence in the early 90s the Central Asian states have gone through dramatic social, cultural, economic and political transformations. The timeline of a more than generational change and diverse internal dynamics have produced unique outcomes for all countries and peoples of the region. While starting under seemingly similar conditions, twenty years later the post-Soviet Central Asian states find themselves quite different from each other, yet sharing many common concerns and hopes. The region’s wider context has also changed dramatically with a number of factors and actors pulling these countries apart, so much so that the very notion of the region is now in doubt.

During this period the study of Central Asia has made significant progress towards a broader and deeper understanding of the region’s past, present and future. Spanning various disciplines and focusing on a variety of issues, academic inquiries have been shaping the perception of what the region is, how its states and societies develop, and what major challenges are faced in political, social and economic spheres. Nevertheless, as the Central Asian states move towards their third decade of independence, some important questions remain and many new ones have emerged. If some authors question the very relevance of seeing Central Asia as a “region,” others point to an increasing need for moving the study of Central Asia beyond narrow disciplinary approaches, while a third group calls for a re-evaluation of Central Asia’s role in the broader international environment. The kick-off conference of the Central Asian Studies Institute (CASI) of the American University of Central Asia will aim at an intellectual wrap-up of twenty years of Central Asian independent existence and will try to identify key themes and questions that will guide the scholars and students of Central Asia in the forthcoming decade. The conference will gather 30-35 participants with active research projects in various aspects of Central Asian studies.  This three-day event will consist of plenary sessions as well as the following sections:

– Central Asian studies: the State of the Art

– Transformations of states and societies in Central Asia

– Circulation of ideas and people in Central Asia and beyond

– Identity, conflict and policy-making

– Central Asia as a region: inner connectedness and outer flux

Conference Timeline

April 15, 2011 – deadline for submitting abstracts (300 words) and  panel proposals (optional)

April 25, 2011 – notification of the status of applications

September 10, 2011 – submission of full papers

October 14-16, 2011 – conference at AUCA, Bishkek.

AUCA can provide travel and accommodation for some non-Bishkek participants. Applicants should indicate if they need funding from AUCA in their paper proposals.

All proposals and queries should be addressed to For more about AUCA and the Institute, please visit us at and