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

Davis Center associate Vera Mironova, who has spent years studying militants from the ex-USSR, says that Russia’s war mobilization may have turned the concert hall outside Moscow into a relatively easy target.

Davis Center visiting scholar Rahat Sabyrbekov explores the region’s climate change challenges, spotlighting original work on decarbonization efforts in the region.

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.

Related Events

Past Event

In his new book "Moscow’s Heavy Shadow" Isaac McKean Scarborough explores Tajikistan's descent into bloody civil war in the early 1990s and argues that armed conflict has accompanied the extended Soviet collapse since the beginning and until today.

Past Event

Join us for an evening with acclaimed Kazakhstani filmmaker Olzhas Bayalbayev and a screening of his captivating short film "GOK," depicting the dramatic takeover of a mining and ore-processing plant in northern Kazakhstan. 

Past Event

This talk will explore developments that led to mass displacement, including the Central Asian revolt of 1916, civil war in 1917–23, Soviet reforms in the 1920s, and the Kazakh famine of 1930–33, paying particular attention to settler colonial violence and the loss of Muslim sovereignties in Central Asia.