UCLA Asia Institute


Filling the Hole in Global Studies: The UCLA Central Asia Initiative

In recent years, the rise of global and connected histories has brought new attention to previously neglected regions of the planet. Old and familiar centers are now being understood in symbiosis with what were once seen as distant peripheries and colonies, while the study of oceans-Indian, Atlantic, Pacific-increasingly jostles for position alongside continental land masses. All the more surprising then that the vast and heterogeneous regions grouped under the tidy label of Central Asia are still so routinely neglected. In part this reflects the fact that Central Asia largely lost out in the great territorial scramble for area studies in the middle of the twentieth century. But it also reflects widespread notions of Central Asia as a reception or transit zone, receiving and transmitting peoples and practices rather than generating, sustaining or even exporting its own cultural and political no less than commercial products.

In a period in which scholars from all disciplines of the humanities and social sciences are paying increased attention to Eurasian and global interactions-not to say a period of unprecedented American political involvement in the region, the Asia Institute's Central Asia Initiative, launched in the spring of 2008, aims to cultivate a space for the social, cultural, religious and economic dimensions of Central Asian studies. Looking beyond the old Silk Road paradigm, the Initiative seeks to bring these gaps and opportunities together by facilitating the introduction of Central Asia into comparative and connected studies, while at the same time promoting the study of Central Asia as a region with properly autonomous histories in their own right that also connect outwards to the wider world.

This month launches the first two activities of the Central Asia Initiative for 2009-2010. On November 12, leading scholars of the archaeology and linguistics of the region will present a panel discussion on "Red-Headed Mummies and Indo-European Languages: The Archaeology and Linguistics of Migration in 'Chinese' Eurasia," and on November 20, a new international working group of archaeologists and art historians will convene and present research on "The Buddhist Cave Temples of the Kucha Kingdom."

For more information, podcasts of previous events and access to working papers from past presentations, visit the: UCLA Central Asia Initiative website

Central Asia Initiative
Working Papers Series

A new digital working papers series has been launched with the publication of two papers developed for the UCLA Central Asia Initiative:

Rambling Reflections on the Mobility and Governability of Religious Phenomena and Systems of Inner Asia, by Francoise Aubin (from the conference, "Mobility and Governability in Central Asia," October 18, 2008)

Coming Soon: "Local Power and Transnational Resources: An Anthropological Perpective on Rural Rehabilitation in Afghanistan," by Alessandro Monsutti (from the panel discussion, Afghanistan after the Taliban: The View from the Hills," November 17, 2008. Also available in a podcast)

International Human Rights Film Series

2009-2010 International Human Rights Film Series

The UCLA International Institute is proud to present the second annual Human Rights Film Series, featuring monthly presentations of recent documentaries and feature films, on human rights issues that receive little attention in the United States. These fi.lms stand out for their depiction of issues on terms dictated from within the countries and cultures that they examine.

International Human Rights Film Series

International Education Week

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and that attracts future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Somaly Mam: 'We Have to Save Them'

Cambodian activist and author Somaly Mam has rescued more than 6,000 girls in Southeast Asia from sexual slavery and helped many to rebuild their lives. She spoke last month at UCLA's law school on how to go beyond mere talk in the fight against predators and organized criminals. Watch a video about the event.

Former Pakistani PM Urges Open Talks on Afghanistan

Shaukat Aziz, who served Pakistan for eight years as finance minister and prime minister, argues that global and regional powers will need to meet with all Afghan factions, the Taliban included, and offer a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan in order to put the country on the right track.

Asia Institute
Member Centers

To sign up for announcements about research on campus, public events, funding, and ongoing programs, please visit the centers' individual websites.

Center for Buddhist Studies
Center for Chinese Studies
Center for India and South Asia
Center for Korean Studies
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies

Asia in the Community

We thank all our community partners for their collaboration, and ask that you contact us if you would like your organization to be listed on our Community Links page.


eNews | November 2009

FLAS Student Studies in Mongolia
Rick Miller, a graduate student in Geography, spent the year studying settled nomads and Mongolian language in Ulaanbaatar

Special Event

Asia Institute's 2009 Public Lecture Series Steeped in History: The Art of Tea, from Aug. 16 through Nov. 19, is held in conjunction with the UCLA Fowler exhibition also titled, Steeped in History
View events from this series
Read press release


Lecture Podcast: Tea and Chinese Cultural Aesthetics

Lecture Podcast: From Elephants to Tea: The Nilgris Under Colonial Rule

Upcoming Events

The Buddhist Arts of Tea in Medieval China
James A. Benn delivers the 22nd Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Art
Saturday, November 07, 2009
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Lenart Auditorium
UCLA Fowler Museum

Tea of the Samurai in Times of War and Peace Morgan Pitelka, Occidental College
Sunday, November 22, 2009
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Lenart Auditorium
UCLA Fowler Museum

Upcoming Events

Architecture & Confucian Ritual in the Chosŏn Dynasty (조선시대 건축과 유교 예제(禮制))
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
11377 Bunche Hall

Lecture by Jack Healey, former Director of Amnesty International: "Burma and a Lifetime of Human Rights Advocacy"
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
UCLA Law School Room 1327

Gender Issues in Malaysian Computer Science Over the Last Three Decades
Monday, November 09, 2009
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
5288 Bunche Hall

Chew on This! Noontime Lecture
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Glorya Kaufman Hall - Phoenix Conference Room 160

Red-Headed Mummies and Indo-European Languages: The Archaeology and Linguistics of Migration in 'Chinese' Eurasia
Thursday, November 12, 2009
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
UCLA Faculty Center

Taiwan Culture in the New Millennium: A Conversation with Two Cultural Figures
Thursday, November 12, 2009
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
10303 Bunche Hall

UCLA Korean Music and Dance Ensemble
Thursday, November 12, 2009
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Fowler Museum

Tocharian 100 Years after its Decipherment
Friday, November 13, 2009
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
243 Royce Hall

Fowler Museum Tea Ceremony Demonstration
Saturday, November 14, 2009
3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
Fowler Museum

The World of Yugen: a lecture and presentation
Monday, November 16, 2009
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
UCLA Faculty Center

Sharing Spouses in Royal Families in the Koryŏ Dynasty (고려시대 국왕과 혼인한 자매들)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
11377 Bunche Hall

Hammer Readings: Yiyun Li
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Hammer Museum

Buddhist Cave Temples of the Kucha Kingdom
Friday, November 20, 2009
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Seminar Room, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

International Film Nights: Water (2006) on India
Thursday, November 19, 2009
7:00 PM
Dashew Center Lobby

"Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country" Film Screening
Friday, November 20, 2009
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
James Bridges Theater

When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Rise of a New Global Order
Friday, November 20, 2009
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

Beyond the Surface: Bronze Mirrors from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection
Saturday, November 21, 2009
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
314 Royce Hall

Civil Society with Chinese Characteristics
Monday, November 23, 2009
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance: Giving Thanks
Saturday, November 28, 2009
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
244 S. San Pedro St.

View monthly calendar »


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