Targeted Research

Current Programs

Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus

The Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus was established in 1993 to help strengthen research and teaching programs at Harvard on the region extending from the Caucasus, Crimea, and the Volga Basin in the west to Siberia, Mongolia, and Tibet in the east. The program’s major focus is on the former Soviet republics, and it supports activities in all fields of social science and humanities, including course offerings, public seminars, a long-running study group, visiting scholars, information resources, curriculum development, and research projects.

Contact
Alexandra Vacroux, Acting Program Director

Project on Islam in Eurasia

The premise of the Project on Islam in Eurasia is that there are very important changes taking place in the social roles of Islam in Central Asia that will have important implications for the politics of the region, but which have not been adequately examined in the existing literature. The early post-Soviet years in most of the region were characterized by limited change, which largely had the character of newly open and celebrated expressions of the forms of Islam which had been sustained though constrained by the Soviet system. Beginning in the latter part of the 1990s, and even later in some regions, a more far-reaching trend towards a fundamental reorientation of society in relation to Islam began to be observed. This has taken many forms, and varies tremendously across the region. What is common to the trend overall is that Muslim believers all across Central Asian societies are beginning to reexamine the views about Islam that were held by believers during Soviet times, and are seeking, on the basis of these new visions of Islam, to take their societies in new directions.

The Project seeks to examine these trends, with two objectives. First, the Project strives to identify and promote original, empirically sound research on Islam in Central Asia. Second, the Project will help develop a network of Central Asian scholars who can effectively communicate their results to academics and policymakers in the United States.

The work of the Project on Islam in Eurasia is made possible with grant support from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Contact
Timothy J. Colton, Principal Investigator
Pauline Jones Luong, Project Consultant
Thomas W. Simons, Jr., Project Consultant
Alexandra Vacroux, Project Manager

Project on Cold War Studies

The Project on Cold War Studies was established in late 1997 as an sponsored research program within the Davis Center. The opening of archives in the former Soviet bloc has provided new opportunities for scholars to reassess and achieve a more sophisticated understanding of the Cold War. The Project seeks to take full advantage of these opportunities.

The Project’s Publications Program includes the peer-reviewed Journal of Cold War Studies, the Project on Cold War Studies Book Series, and special book projects. All three provide outlets for historians, political scientists, and other scholars who want to draw on newly available archival evidence. Some authors offer fresh historical accounts, whereas others use the new evidence to test key theories in political science and international relations. In addition to the Publications Program, the Project sponsors conferences and seminars, oversees a huge collection of photocopied and microfilmed archival materials, and maintains an extensive website with information about the project, detailed pages about the Cold War, dozens of links to related websites, and scanned images of declassified documents.

Contact
Mark Kramer, Program Director
Project on Cold War Studies website »

Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

The Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of overcoming the lingering mistrust that dominates policy debate about the bilateral relationship in both countries. The group’s 20 members meet twice a year, alternating between Cambridge and Moscow. Each meeting is devoted to analysis of a single subject and the results are integrated into a paper coauthored by one American and one Russian. This unique, truly bilateral approach allows the Working Group to generate pathbreaking policy proposals that reflect the interests of both countries.

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University is the U.S. anchor for the Working Group. On the Russian side, the partner institutions are the Higher School of Economics (School of World Economy and International Studies), and the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.

The activities of the Working Group have been made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, Open Society Foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, the Valdai International Discussion Club, and Mr. John Cogan.

Contact
Timothy J. Colton, Co-chair, U.S. Delegation
Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations website »


Past Programs

Project on the Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora

Almost two million Russian-speaking people, most of them Jews, live outside the former Soviet Union (FSU). These migrants are the largest group to enter Israel since its founding, and are the largest immigrant group in the last century to settle in the United States and in Germany, respectively. This latest Russian-speaking Jewish migration has had a profound impact both on the receiving countries, namely the United States, Israel, and Germany, as well as on the sending countries, the FSU, especially Russia. Now that the migration has essentially ended, it is time to take stock of how this movement has changed these societies in general, and their Jewish communities in particular.

The Project will address these complex issues comprehensively and comparatively at a Conference on the Contemporary Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora in November 2011. We seek to achieve four goals: (1) to gain a more nuanced understanding of how migrations affect not only the immigrants, but also the countries which lose them and those which become their new home; (2) to explore how this migration may cause scholars to refine the concepts of diaspora and ethnic identity; (3) to spur new comparative scholarship; and (4) to inform community efforts that seek to provide valuable services to this immigrant community.

Contact
Lisbeth L. Tarlow, Project Director