UCLA Central Asia Workshop Annual Graduate Student Conference

Thursday, April 20, 2017
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Charles E. Young Research Library Presentation Room

Despite lying at the heart of the Asian continent, Central Asia has long been defined by its relation to other places, whether at the edge of empires, at the nexus of transcontinental trade routes, or as an absence of place altogether. Narratives about Central Asia as a place that connects other regions rather than as a group of localities, regions, and countries with complex identities unto themselves also persist. One of the concepts most clearly identified with Central Asia, the Silk Road, underscores this notion of the region as thoroughfare. The Chinese government’s contemporary plans to build a Eurasian transportation network are reviving the concept of the Silk Road, but again in ways that mark Central Asia as a place to be crossed rather than as a place with narratives, imaginaries, networks, and material cultures of its own. Against this backdrop, the UCLA Central Asia Workshop Conference seeks to bring together graduate students working on Central Asia and neighboring countries or areas with cultural affinities to the region. The comparative approach of this year’s conference comes at a time when an increasing number of scholars and practitioners are entering Central Asian studies from diverse backgrounds no longer limited to Russian or Soviet ethnography and language training. Academics with experience in and knowledge of places such as China and the Caucasus as well as Islamicate, Persianate and Turkic studies are making Central Asian studies more vibrant and geographically disperse, while also refocusing attention on the question of what is Central Asia.

Conference Schedule

8:30 am - 9:00 am
Conference Registration and Coffee

9:00 am - 9:10 am
Welcome and Presentation of CAW Activities, Mia Bennett, Geography, UCLA

9:10 am - 9:30 am
Opening Plenary: “Changing bodies, changing states: the geopolitics of Silk Road ontologies,” Andrew Grant, UCLA/CSU Dominguez Hills

Session 1
Networks and Movements in Western Central Asia

9:30 am - 9:50 am
“Nomadism or Transhumance: A New Interpretation on the Origins and the Central Asian Heritage of Ottomans,” Samet Budak, Near Eastern Studies Department, University of Michigan

9:50 am - 10:00 am
Questions for Session 1 Paper

Session 2
Food and Place in post-Soviet Central Asia

10:10 am - 10:30 am
“Uzbek Foodways,” Sebile Yapici, Research Training Group 'Value and Equivalence,' Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

10:30 am - 10:50 am
“The Taste of Place and the Nature of Trust: Natural and Heritage Foods in Post-Socialist Kazakhstan,” Julia McLean, Anthropology, UCLA

10:50 am - 11:10 am
Questions for Session 2 Papers

Session 3
New Approaches to Literature

11:20 am - 11:40 am
“Deconstructing Soviet Literary construction: An investigation of Hamza Hakimzoda Niyoziy’s The Rich Man and the Servant (1918),” Christopher Fort, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan

11:40 am - 12:00 pm
“Leninism is Dead! Long Live Lenin! Karimov and Temur as Uzbekistan's Two Bodies,” Zachary Schuyler, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago

12:00 pm - 12:20 pm
Questions for Session 3 Papers

12:20 pm - 1:45 pm

Session 4
Place-Making and Nation-Branding in Central Asia

1:45 pm - 2:05 pm
“National narratives and nation branding in Central Asian Republics in post-Soviet Period: The case of Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan,” Snezhana Atanova, GWU/Russian Academy of Sciences/PhD Candidate, INALCO/Research Scholar, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

2:05 pm - 2:25 pm
“Branding Kazakhstan: Relationship between State and non-state actors,” Darina Sadvakassova, Department of Eurasian Studies, Nazarbayev University

2:25 pm - 2:45 pm
“Polycentricity of Linguistic Landscape: The case study of a northern town in Kazakhstan,” Aisulu Raspayeva, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm
Questions for Session 4 Papers

Session 5
The Future of Central Asia

3:15 pm - 3:35 pm
“Any Hope for Water - Energy Cooperation in Central Asia?” Berdakh Utemuratov, Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, University of Connecticut

3:35 pm - 3:45 pm
Questions for Session 5 Paper

3:45 pm - 4:15 pm
Coffee and refreshments

4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Keynote Lecture: “Central Asian Studies in the Era of Independence: Reflections on 25 Years of Research After the Fall of the Soviet Union,” Cynthia Werner, Anthropology, Texas A&M 

5:30 pm - 5:45 pm
Closing remarks and conference adjournment, Mia Bennett, UCLA

This event is presented in collaboration with the Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Cost : No registration fee

Sponsor(s): Program on Central Asia, Anthropology, Geography, Slavic Languages and Literatures