In the spring of 2002, University of Chicago faculty and staff representing a variety of disciplines jointly┬áinitiated the Committee on Central Eurasian Studies. The goal of this committee is to reflect the growing importance of the Central Eurasian republics on the international stage and increasing interest in this region throughout the University community. This effort aspires to build on Chicago’s strength as one of only a handful of institutions in the United States with a long-standing history of commitment to the study of this region. Members of the Committee bring with them an impressive tradition of involvement in a number of facets of Central Eurasian study, including languages,history, ethnomusicology, and archaeology.

Focus of the Committee

Central Eurasia defies any precise demarcation. The Committee on Central Eurasian Studies concentrates on the newly-independent republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Kirghizstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. However, the Committee recognizes the significant interactions between these nations and their environs and therefore considers the Caucasus, areas of Southern Russia and Western China, and the northern parts of Afghanistan and Iran within its sphere. Indeed, an ongoing interest of the Committee is to consider the various historical, cultural, physical, political, and linguistic boundaries that have at times united, divided, and bounded this region.

Goals of the Committee

The Committee draws from the multiple disciplines of its members in addressing the study of Central Eurasia, and seeks to contribute to the advancement and enrichment of scholarship on Central Eurasia at the University of Chicago and beyond. Thus, the goals of the Committee are to:

  • Enhance training opportunities at the University for students at all levels to develop the fundamental knowledge, linguistic skills, and analytical approaches necessary for the study of Central Eurasia.
  • Promote an environment in which productive discussion and research on Central Eurasia can take place.
  • Support efforts to bring speakers and visiting scholars of Central Eurasia and of Central Eurasian Studies to Chicago for mutually beneficial exchanges of ideas and information.
  • Collaborate with four of the area studies centers at the University of Chicago: the Centers for Middle Eastern Studies, East Asian Studies, Eastern Europe and Russia / Eurasia, and South Asia. These colloborations include conferences, workshops, and other activities that span multiple geographical, temporal, and ethnic boundaries.