Graduate Student Conference on Сentral Asia

Event Format
In person
CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Tsai Auditorium (S010)
Location: Tsai Auditorium, CGIS South

Session I: Beliefs and Values: Continuity and Change

8:15-9:00 am: Breakfast (Concourse Level, CGIS South)

9:00-10:30 am: Introductory Remarks and Presentations 

Chair: Yipeng Zhou, Coordinator, Imperiia Project, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

  • Leora Eisenberg, Harvard University, Uzbek-Jewish Relations in WWII: Evacuation as a Testing Ground for the ‘Friendship of the Peoples’
  • Yuliya Ten, Georgetown University, Relying on “Unreliable People”: Central Asian Koreans as Intermediaries in the Soviet Foreign Policy in Korea (the 1940s-1960s)
  • Kianna Mahony, Harvard University, The Role of Poetry in Furthering Tajikistan's Efforts of Nation-Building and Identity Consolidation

10:30-10:45 am: Break (Concourse Level, CGIS South)

10:45-12 pm: Presentations

Chair: Toby Cox, Harvard University, A.M. Candidate in Theological Studies (MTS)

  • Maia Simon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sensitive Containers: Underground Nuclear Testing at the Semipalatinsk Test Site
  • Dina Aldanova, Georgetown University, Anti-Nuclear Movement "Nevada-Semipalatinsk": Voice of Humanity
  • Muling He, Harvard University, Asserting Socialism in Uzbek Neighborhoods, 1917 - 1967
12-1 pm:  Lunch (Invitation only)
Location: CGIS South, S030 

Session II: In the Shadow of Big Neighbors: Central Asian Interactions with Russia and China

1-2:30 pm: Presentations

Chair: Nargis Kassenova, Senior Fellow; Director, Program on Central Asia, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies 

  • Aleksei Rumiantsev, Indiana University, Nationalities policy in Russia towards Central Asian residents and domestic Turkic-speaking Ethnicities during the War in Ukraine
  • Raushan Zhandayeva, George Washington University,  “Belief Formation during International Crises: The Case of Central Asia”
  • John Stanko, Indiana University, The Russian Diplomatic Academy as Soft Power Resource: An Examination of Eurasian Ambassadorial Corps
  • Przemyslaw Dalek, University of Warsaw,  Change of the Security Paradigm in Central Asia? CSTO Member Countries and Chinese Military Influence

2:30-2:45 pm: Break (Concourse Level, CGIS South)

2:45-3:30 pm: Presentations 

Chair: Leora Eisenberg, Harvard University, Ph.D. Candidate in History 

  • Zhanara Almazbekova, Georgetown University, Between Empire and Colony: A Kazakh Intermediary’s Visions of Steppe Enlightenment
  • Jonathan Raspe, Princeton University, “National in Form, Russian in Content? Industrialization, Russification, and Ethnic Tokenism in Late Soviet Kazakhstan

3:30-4 pm: Break (Concourse Level, CGIS South)

4-5 pm: Keynote Speaker: James Pickett, the University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor, Department of History

Endemic Colonialism: Sovereignty, Public Health, and Pandemic in Pre-Soviet Bukhara

Location: Tsai Auditorium, CGIS South

Session III: Political, Economic, and Social Transformations

8:45 - 9:30 Breakfast (Concourse Level, CGIS South)

9:30-11:00: Presentations

Chair: Aruzhan Meirkhanova, Harvard University, Innovation Fellow, Program on Central Asia, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies 

  • Aidana Razhap Kyzy, Johns Hopkins University, “Impact of Debt and Equity Market Development on Renewable Energy Consumption in Kazakhstan”
  • Pengshan Pan, University of Pittsburgh, Foreign Mining, Labor Welfare and Local Trust: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan
  • Akbota Karibayeva, George Washington University, “Ungrateful Successors: Why Do Authoritarian Leaders Turn On Their Predecessors?” 
  • Otabek Akromov,  University of Minnesota, “Understanding Political Liberalization in Uzbekistan:  Breaking from the Past?”

11:00-11:15  Break (Concourse Level, CGIS South)

11:15-12:00: Presentations 

Chair: Muling He, Harvard University, A.M. Candidate in Regional Studies, REECA

  • Nazerke Mukhlissova, Yale University, The ‘Great Steppe’ Narrative: Origins, Politics, and Aspirations of Eternal Kazakhstan
  • Adam Lenton, George Washington University, Dear Compatriots: New Year Speeches as Sites for Post-Soviet Identity Construction (co-authored with Akbota Karibayeva)

12:00-12:15 Concluding Remarks by Nargis Kassenova 

12:15-13:00 Lunch (Invitation only)
Location: CGIS South, S030 

Please direct any questions about the conference to Nargis Kassenova and Aruzhan Meirkhanova.


This conference is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI National Resource Center grant. The content of this conference does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.