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

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.

Senior Fellow Nargis Kassenova contemplates Kazakhstan after the Nazarbayev era in a piece for Foreign Affairs.

Senior Fellow Nargis Kassenova argues that despite recent turmoil, it would be wrong to presume that the past three decades of efforts to build Kazakh statehood are now on the verge of evaporating.

Related Events

Past Event

Christopher Hartwell examines the interplay of economic and political institutions in Kazakhstan of the 19th century under Tsarist imperial oppression.

Past Event

This panel is part of the “Regions and China’s Belt and Road Initiative” seminar series hosted by Nargis Kassenova and James Gethyn Evans. 

Past Event

The event explores both the short and long-term challenges Central Asia will face in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.