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.

Resources, Events, and Publications

Related Insights

Who ventured back and forth on the Silk Road? Who built the wonders and monuments that stand proud today?

As the geopolitical split in Eurasia widens, the country’s balancing act will be a hard feat to pull off, writes Nargis Kassenova in Politico.

In the last decade, high-quality entertainment in the Kazakh language has become a source of national pride in Kazakhstan, writes Ph.D. candidate Leora Eisenberg.

Related Events

Upcoming Event

The Davis Center invites paper proposals from graduate students at any stage, including master’s students, on topics related to Central Asia.

Upcoming Event

The ongoing crackdown in Gorno-Badakhshan against the Pamiri Ismailis is the longest-running intra-state conflict and crackdown in Central Asia since the Tajik Civil War ended in 1997. The panel will discuss the causes behind the crackdown and potential trajectories of Tajikistan’s political development by examining the domestic, regional, and geopolitical contexts.

Past Event

Russia’s war on Ukraine has caused massive waves of out-migration of its citizens to the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. The panel will discuss the ongoing developments around Russian migration to Central Asia and South Caucasus, compare the situations in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and share thoughts on the political, economic, and social implications.