Belonging, Politics and Knowledge in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Friday, January 30, 2015 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street

The Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus is hosting a symposium on January 30, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Belfer Case Study Room (CGIS South S020). The symposium will consist of three sessions. It is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but is appreciated for planning purposes.

The first two sessions will focus on erasure, identity, inclusion/exclusion, belonging and citizenship. Participants will explore how categorizations—whether ethnic, national, gender, religious, economic, or other—have been created, managed, and enacted by state and non-state actors. Citizenship and identity categories are continuously contested and experienced in everyday lives. How do local, national, and international dynamics influence the negotiation of these categories and exclusionary practices? How and why are different peoples absent from national narratives in Central Asia and the Caucasus?

The third session will build on these panels by exploring fieldwork challenges connected to state and social sensitivities about categorizations, exclusions, and gaps between national narratives and lived experience. Ever-evolving politics in the region pose serious challenges to local scholars, as well as to foreign researchers trying to build professional relationships and conduct scholarly research in the region. This session is a forum for researchers to discuss methods, analyze some of the sensitivities that curb scholarly inquiry and fieldwork agendas in the region, and explore the path forward.


9:00–10:40 a.m.

Welcome and Panel One: Categorizations, Exclusions, and National Narratives, Part I

Emily Canning (Brandeis University)—"Inner Piece: The Reterritorialization of Uzbek Language and Culture in Osh"

Ian Lanzillotti (Ohio State University)—"Historiography and the Politics of Land, Identity, and Belonging in the Twentieth-Century North Caucasus"

Hakem Al-Rustom (American University of Cairo)—"Denativization as Erasure: Anatolian Armenians in post-Ottoman Turkey"

Chair: Thomas Barfield (Boston University)

10:40–11:00 a.m.

Coffee Break

11:00 a.m.–12:40 p.m.

Panel Two: Categorizations, Exclusions, and National Narratives, Part Two

Natalie Belsky (Saint Xavier University)—"Forging a National Culture: The Contributions of Evacuees in Wartime Kazakhstan"

Daniel Beben (Indiana University)—"The Pamiri Peoples and Tajik National Identity: The Legacy of Primordialism"

Erin Hutchinson (Harvard University)—"Soviet Culture and Monuments to the Great Patriotic War in Armenia and Moldova"

Claire Pogue Kaiser (University of Pennsylvania)—"The Last 'Wave': Expulsions, Ethnic Consolidation, and the Lived Experience of the Georgian Postwar Deported Peoples"

Chair: Faith Hillis (University of Chicago)

12:40–2:10 p.m.


2:10–3:45 p.m.

Roundtable: The Politicization of Research in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Ed Schatz (Toronto University)

Altay Goyushov (Baku State University)

Russell Zanca (Northeastern Illinois University)

Ronald Suny (University of Michigan)

Chair: Peter Finke (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology / University of Zurich)

Closing Remarks

Register for the event here.

Sponsored by the Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Questions may be directed to Krista Goff and Meltem Sancak at

Image © M. Biczyk, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology