Research Projects

Energy Project

The Energy Project seeks to illuminate the complex energy issues in Russia and Eurasia. Our primary objective is to gain in-depth knowledge of the interconnected challenges facing the energy sector—and more broadly, the political, economic, and social actors—in the post-Soviet states and surrounding areas such as Iran and Mongolia. We will in turn analyze the interaction among these countries and with the rest of the world, especially Europe and Asia.

Aurélie Bros, Senior Fellow

Imperiia Project

The purpose of the Imperiia Project is to promote the study of Russia's spatial history. To that end it aims to 1) make available to scholars and students a range of historical maps, databases related to demographics, cultural institutions, economic infrastructure and administration, 2) assist instructors in bringing interactive engagement with maps and geographical information into the history classroom, 3) encourage conversation and collaboration among researchers, instructors and students interested in the spatial history of the empire.

The Imperiia Project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Kelly O'Neill, Project Director
Megan Duncan Smith, Project Manager 

Negotiation Task Force

The Davis Center Negotiation Task Force promotes innovative solutions to Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security challenges by creating spaces for cross-cultural negotiation research, training, and strategic analysis. We pioneer new models for high-impact knowledge dissemination, train practitioners in advanced negotiation skills, and build long-term conflict management capacity.

Arvid Bell, Director
Taylor Valley, Coordinator

Program on Central Asia

The Program on Central Asia was established to strengthen research and teaching at Harvard on the history and current affairs of five Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It supports the study of the region using tools and insights from across the social sciences and humanities. Program activities include curriculum development and course offerings, research projects, public lectures and seminars, resource development, and facilitation of research by students and visiting scholars.

Alexandra Vacroux, Acting Program Director
Nargis Kassenova, Senior Fellow

Project on Cold War Studies

The Project on Cold War Studies was established in late 1997 as an sponsored research program within the Davis Center. The opening of archives in the former Soviet bloc has provided new opportunities for scholars to reassess and achieve a more sophisticated understanding of the Cold War. The Project seeks to take full advantage of these opportunities.

The Project’s Publications Program includes the peer-reviewed Journal of Cold War Studies, the Project on Cold War Studies Book Series, and special book projects. All three provide outlets for historians, political scientists, and other scholars who want to draw on newly available archival evidence. Some authors offer fresh historical accounts, whereas others use the new evidence to test key theories in political science and international relations. In addition to the Publications Program, the Project sponsors conferences and seminars, oversees a huge collection of photocopied and microfilmed archival materials, and maintains an extensive website with information about the project, detailed pages about the Cold War, dozens of links to related websites, and scanned images of declassified documents.

Mark Kramer, Program Director

Project on Islam in Eurasia

The premise of the Project on Islam in Eurasia is that there are very important changes taking place in the social roles of Islam in Central Asia that will have important implications for the politics of the region, but which have not been adequately examined in the existing literature. The early post-Soviet years in most of the region were characterized by limited change, which largely had the character of newly open and celebrated expressions of the forms of Islam which had been sustained though constrained by the Soviet system. Beginning in the latter part of the 1990s, and even later in some regions, a more far-reaching trend towards a fundamental reorientation of society in relation to Islam began to be observed. This has taken many forms, and varies tremendously across the region. What is common to the trend overall is that Muslim believers all across Central Asian societies are beginning to reexamine the views about Islam that were held by believers during Soviet times, and are seeking, on the basis of these new visions of Islam, to take their societies in new directions.

The Project seeks to examine these trends, with two objectives. First, the Project strives to identify and promote original, empirically sound research on Islam in Central Asia. Second, the Project will help develop a network of Central Asian scholars who can effectively communicate their results to academics and policymakers in the United States.

The work of the Project on Islam in Eurasia is made possible with grant support from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Timothy J. Colton, Principal Investigator
Pauline Jones Luong, Project Consultant
Thomas W. Simons, Jr., Project Consultant
Alexandra Vacroux, Project Manager

Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry

The Project seeks to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the rich history and culture of Russian-speaking Jews by bringing together scholars and experts from around the world. The Project sponsors seminars, panels, symposia, public programs and related activities to promote and broaden the study of the history, culture, identity and legacy of the Jews of Russia and Eurasia. The Project encourages interdisciplinary inquiry on critical topics related to Russian and Eurasian Jewish identity and contributions. 

One of the Project’s principal arms is the Seminar on Russian and Eurasian Jewry

The Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.

Maxim D. Shrayer, Director of the Project

Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

The Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of overcoming the lingering mistrust that dominates policy debate about the bilateral relationship in both countries. The group’s 20 members meet twice a year, alternating between Cambridge and Moscow. Each meeting is devoted to analysis of a single subject and the results are integrated into a paper coauthored by one American and one Russian. This unique, truly bilateral approach allows the Working Group to generate pathbreaking policy proposals that reflect the interests of both countries.

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University is the U.S. anchor for the Working Group. On the Russian side, the partner institutions are the Higher School of Economics (School of World Economy and International Studies), and the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.

The activities of the Working Group have been made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, Open Society Foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, the Valdai International Discussion Club, and Mr. John Cogan.

Timothy J. Colton, Co-chair, U.S. Delegation