Program on Central Asia

Scholar-Entrepreneur Initiative

The Program on Central Asia promotes research and teaching at Harvard on the history and current affairs of five Central Asian countries—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

We support the study of the Central Asian region using tools and insights from various fields of social sciences and humanities. Our activities include research projects, seminar series, curriculum development and course offerings, creation of digital resources for the study of the region, facilitation of research by students and visiting scholars, and cultural events. 

While the program aims at generating and disseminating knowledge and resources on Central Asia spanning different periods of its history, our main focus is on the independence period and current developments. We approach Central Asia as a region that opened up as a result of the dissolution of the USSR. The states, economies, and people of Central Asia are now an integral part of the globalized world, and developments in the region cannot be properly understood without tracing and analyzing different forms of connectivity, influence, and interdependence.

Our Projects

Related Insights

A mix of gifts and interpersonal elite ties marks China’s approach to Central Asia, contrasting starkly with a Western approach focused on political norms and principles, writes Nargis Kassenova.

In a new policy memo, Davis Center senior fellow Nargis Kassenova argues that Central Asia should follow the EU’s example in fostering regional cooperation and integration, particularly around the water-energy-climate change nexus.

At the Davis Center’s inaugural Graduate Student Conference on Central Asia, emerging scholars shared their research about the region’s history, culture, and socio-political transformations.

Related Events

Upcoming Event

The new World Bank report "Middle Trade and Transport Corridor – Policies and Investments to Triple Freight Volumes and Halve Travel Time by 2030" argues that with the right policies the Middle Corridor can boost regional trade, provide resilience and route diversification for the China-Europe container trade, and shield countries and supply chains from geopolitical shocks.

Upcoming Event

This panel will discuss the context and reasons for new migration trends in the post-Soviet space, focusing on Central Asia as an important migrant-receiving and migrant-sending region.

Past Event

The presentation will delve into the factors contributing to the expansion of the Chala-Qazaq population in late imperial Russia and the tsarist regime's efforts to regulate and confine this elusive ethnic category.