Islam in Eurasia volume melds scholarship, policymaking

Monday, August 17, 2015

Important changes taking place in the social roles of Islam in Central Asia and Azerbaijan have significant implications for the politics of the region, yet these changes have not been adequately examined in the existing literature. Islam in Eurasia: A Policy Volume describes a rich encounter between the latest scholarship and U.S. policymaking in Washington, D.C.

Edited by Thomas W. Simons, Jr. (visiting scholar at the Davis Center, and former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and Poland), the volume summarizes the proceedings of a June 2013 policy conference that brought together top academics, government officials, and NGO activists at the Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C. At its core are four specially commissioned scholarly papers defining the trajectory and parameters of U.S. policy in the region since 1991, all updated to 2015:

  • Geoffrey Wright, “U.S. Policy toward Independent Central Asia: The Record and Key Variables”
  • Brenda Shaffer, “Energy and Natural Resource Exports and the Islamic Future of Central Asia and Azerbaijan”
  • Noah Tucker, “Domestic Shapers of Eurasia’s Islamic Futures: Sheikh, Scholar, Society, and the State”
  • Roger Kangas, “Envoi: Central Asia after 2014: Is There a Role for Outside Powers?”

Together, the papers and the discussion record provide the most up-to-date analysis of the elements U.S. policymakers will need in order to make good policy now that our combat role in Afghanistan has ended and we have become energy exporters.

The volume was published by the Davis Center in conjunction with its Project on Islam in Eurasia, a multiyear research endeavor undertaken with grant support from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Download the complete text (PDF) here.