CCES Lecture Series: Jeffrey Winters

Winters Poster 11_13_2015-page-001


You are also invited to:
An open discussion of WintersOligarchy and its relevance to our work in Central Eurasian studies.
12:30 – 2 p.m., Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Pick 105 (CIS Conference Room)
Lunch will be provided
Here is information about Jeffrey Winters. The first chapter of Oligarchy is available upon request from
Jeffrey Winters 
Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University
Director of Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS), Northwestern University

LOCATION CHANGED – Lecture: Michael Frachetti, “Silk Routes Rewoven: Inner Asia at 4000 and 1000 Years Ago”




NEW LOCATION: ROSENWALD 015Frachetti lecture poster-page-001

Silk Routes Rewoven: Inner Asia at 4000 and 1000 years ago
Michael Frachetti
Washington University in St Louis

Tuesday November 3, 2015
6-7:30 pm

This lecture presents two parallel snapshots of “Silk Road” interaction.  The first snapshot comes from Bronze Age archaeological investigations in Southeastern Kazakhstan (ca. 2500 cal BCE), which reveal the earliest known evidence for interaction networks between East Asia and SW Asia. Such networks are attested in the form of early domesticated grains, which trace the introduction of wheat and barley to China as well as millet into Central and SW Asia.  The second snapshot explores the Silk Routes during the height of their use in the Medieval era and examines the formation of complex political and economic landscapes in Southeastern Uzbekistan.  As both cases are drawn from “nomadic” contexts, they require us to reevaluate the models for social complexity and institutional organization that shape both common and academic ideas about the world’s most extensive ancient overland trade network.

New Central Eurasia course! Nomads, Networks, and Political Complexity in the Ancient Near East

Nomads, Networks, and Political Complexity in the Ancient Near East

Instructors: Richard Payne and Emily Hammer

Course Number: CDIN 40024/ NEAA 49924/ NEHC 40024/ ANTH 46425/ HIST 58003

This course draws on archaeological and historical approaches to examine pastoral nomadism in the ancient Near East. Historians and archaeologists increasingly acknowledge the central role pastoralists and nomads played in the development of cities, states, and empires, as well as the dynamism and complexities of transhumant societies that traditionally figured only marginally in their accounts. The course re-centers the historical perspective through a focus on mobile groups in the geographical and cultural interstices of traditional civilizational “centers.” It insists on the interdependence of historical and archaeological forms of analysis to the recovery of pastoral nomadic societies, economies, and political cultures. The comparative invisibility of nomads and pastoralists in literary and material cultures poses interpretive problems that the seminar seeks to address. On the one hand, archaeologists have innovated a range of approaches to document the activities of mobile groups that often avoided the very nucleation once considered a defining feature of civilization. On the other hand, historians have begun to transcend the sedentary civilizational perspective of their sources to place texts in conversation with material culture. Our aim is to bring together these methods to produce accounts of nomadic civilizations that are simultaneously archaeological and historical. We will also explore the tensions between interpretations drawn from historical accounts and ideas generated via ethnographic analogies. The seminar will discuss recent work emphasizing the economic, social, and political complexity of mobile pastoral groups, and the diversity of nomadic pastoral practices and nomad-sedentary relations in the past, while inviting the students to produce issue-oriented papers on various debates in the field.

Central Eurasia-related job posting: Yale EALL

Position, Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures/Humanities, Yale University

For full details, see:

The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the Humanities Program seek to make the joint tenure-track appointment of an assistant professor, to begin July 2016. The appointee will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in EALL and also undergraduate courses suited for the interdisciplinary Humanities Program.  We seek a scholar of outstanding promise who engages intensively with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Inner Asian primary materials.  Since this is a fully joint appointment, the successful applicant will demonstrate abilities and research interests in both the East Asian and broader humanistic contexts as well as a commitment to interdisciplinary dialogue with other departments and programs.  The period, field, and specialization are open.

Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2015, and will continue until the position is filled.

Posting Date: 08/29/2015
Closing Date 11/12/2015

UChicago Uzbek in the NYT!

CMES alumna Lydia Kiesling has written a glowing Letter of Recommendation for the Uzbek language, which she studied right here at the University of Chicago. Take a look at this defense of “less commonly taught languages,” and consider registering for the many Central Asian languages which we continue to offer here, including Uzbek!

To use Lydia’s own words:

“It can be difficult to talk about Uzbek without soaring into Orientalist flights. ‘‘O warbling beauty of the steppe!’’ I started to write, like a 19th-century lady traveler. Uzbek is the main inheritor of the Chagatai language, which with Persian was used in the great courts of Samarkand and Bukhara, Silk Road cities that have long represented the inscrutable East in foreign imagination. The history of Turkic languages is tied inextricably to the history of Islam, and thus with Arabic and Persian (both from different language families). Uzbek in particular is packed with Persian — important words like farzand (child) and jon (soul) and xudo (god) — and employs its commanding vowels; salom (‘‘hello’’) requires you to make the roof of your mouth high and round, unlike the flat ‘‘a’’ of the Arabic salaam. The plucking nasal ‘‘qa’’ and a gravelly ‘‘g’a’’ add a lovely burbling quality to rapid-fire Uzbek. It does warble.”

Central Eurasian Studies at MEHAT 2015

This year at the 30th Annual Middle East History and Theory Conference, there are two events directly related to Central Eurasia.

First, a panel from 1:30-2:50 PM on May 1, 2015:
Room: Stuart Hall 101
Panel title: Central Eurasian Studies (sponsored by the Committee on Central Eurasian Studies)
Discussant: Michael Bechtel, University of Chicago
Kevin Gledhill, Yale University – “Trans-Caspian Diplomacy and the Coming of Qajar Rule in Gilan”
Donohon Abdugafurova, Emory University – “Anbar Otin’s Treatise on the Philosophy of the Blacks
Rahimjon Abdugafurov, Emory University – “The Epic of Lady Mary by Sulayman Baqirghani”

Second, the Committee on Central Eurasian Studies is sponsoring a Happy Hour, 5:00 PM on May 2, 2015, at Ida Noyes Hall.

We look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces at these exciting events!