During the past 15 years Central Asian Studies at Stockholm University has devoted much of its research to various aspects of state- and nation-building in Central Asia and other neighboring Turkic societies in the post-Soviet era. Two anthologies resulting from this research and published by the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul are Historiography and Nation-Building among Turkic Populations (2014) and Prospects for Democracy in Central Asia (2005). Their contents are listed at the end of this post.
Great changes have occurred in the Central Eurasian space with regard to the political and cultural processes focused on in these two volumes. At SIPCATS/Istanbul, new readings are currently being conducted for a reevaluation of issues presented in the different chapters. This could be a good opportunity for a still broader discussion with the participation of other researchers as well, including the contributors to the abovementioned anthologies. For the next few months, till the end of this summer (2016), a forum for discussion will be running on the SIPCATS Director’s Blog under the title of ”The Central Eurasia Discourse”.
Within the framework of the SIPCATS Program and in accordance with several other international research programs, the designation of Central Eurasia refers to a geographically and cultural-historically cohesive sphere for studies in the humanities and social sciences.
Common cultural historical features uniting a vast part of the Inner Asian area are, among others, not only the distribution of languages (Turkic, Iranian, and in modern times Slavic languages), but also epic literature spreading from Tibet and Mongolia in the east to Anatolia and eastern Europe in the west. As to origin this type of literature is largely nomadic in both content and ethics and has become part of folk literatures and national literatures influencing the language habits of individuals and societies.
From a present-day sociopolitical point of view it may become more and more relevant to view the same area as an expanding Central Eurasian sphere defined first and foremost by economic networks and infrastructures sustained by surrounding – and partly overlapping – strong or influential powers, such as Russia, China, India, Turkey, and the European Union. A large part of the world trade is carried out by countries along the ancient Silk Road; according to some reports the share is as high as 25%.
Against this background, I want to suggest the following broad themes as a general framework for future discussions and I look forward to receiving reflections and comments from both members of the SIPCATS Program and other fellow researchers.
- Central Eurasia as Geo-Political and/or Geo-Cultural Space
- Language Minorities and Multiculturalism in Central Eurasia
- Collective and Individual Identity Formation in relation to State and Language Policies
- Trends and Developments in the field of Political Pluralism and Individual Freedom
- Independence and Interdependence in the Central Eurasian Space
- The Balance of Power from a Regional as well as an International Perspective
Please send in your contributions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, which address can also be used for whatever questions you might have in connection with this forum.
Below are the lists of contents of Historiography and Nation-building among Turkic Populations (2014) and Prospects for Democracy in Central Asia (2005). Some of the chapters are available at academia.edu
Historiography and Nation-building among Turkic Populations
Introduction: Central Asian and Turkic History Revisited
On Oral History of the Soviet Past in Central Asia: Re-Collecting, Reflecting and Re-Imagining
The Coverage of Central Asia in Turkey: The 1990s and Beyond
In Search of New Historiographies for Ex-Soviet Turkic States: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
History-Writing and History-Making in Azerbaijan: Some Reflections on the First Two Decades of Independence
Image and Influence: The Politics of Nation-Branding in Uzbekistan
Linguistic and Social Contradictions within Uzbek National Identity
The Status of Uzbek as “National Language”
Birgit N. Schlyter
Language and the State in Late Qing Xinjiang
Eric T. Schluessel
Prospects for Democracy in Central Asia
Preface (with an introduction)
PART I: POLITICAL PLURALISM AND CIVIC SPACE
For a Transition to Democracy in Central Asia
The Tajik Experience of a Multiparty System – Exception or Norm?
Tajikistan at the Crossroads of Democracy and Authoritarianism
Democracy and Political Stability in Kyrgyzstan
The Blocked Road to Turkmen Democracy
On the Problem of Revival and Survival of Ethnic Minorities in Post-Soviet Central Asia
Valeriy S. Khan
The Karakalpaks and Other Language Minorities under Central Asian State Rule
Birgit N. Schlyter
PART II: INTERSTATE ISSUES
Russia and Central Asian Security
Turkey and Post-Soviet Eurasia: Seeking a Regional Power Status
US Security Policy in Central Asia After the 9/11 Attack
Dividing the Caspian: Conflicting Geopolitical Agendas Among Littoral States
Water Politics and Management of Trans-Boundary Water Resources in Post-Soviet Central Asia
People, Environment, and Water Security in the Aral Sea Area
PART III: TRENDS OF THOUGHT IN THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE
Poetry and Political Dissent in Central Asia from a Historical Perspective: The Chaghatay Poet Turdi
Democratization as a Global Process and Democratic Culture at Central Asian Élite and Grass-Roots Levels
Post-Soviet Paternalism and Personhood: Why Culture Matters to Democratization in Central Asia
Morgan Y. Liu
Uzbek and Uyghur Communities in Saudi Arabia and Their Role in the Development of Wahhabism in Present-Day Central Asia
Turkish Islamist Entrepreneurs in Central Asia
Epilogue: Reflections on Recent Elections
Birgit N. Schlyter and Merrick Tabor