Interdisciplinary Approaches to Big Issues in Central Asia

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
Humanities Research Centre Postgraduate Workshop

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Big Issues in Central Asia
December 17-18, 2018

A famous German-American historian and sociologist, Andre Gunder Frank, has coined the expression 'the Centrality of Central Asia' to highlight the importance of the region to the history of the humankind in the pre-Columbian era. After half a millennium of abeyance and imperial subjugation, it is back on the world scene as a fully-fledged subject of the complex processes of global political and social development. Nonetheless, Central Asia continues to be viewed primarily as an adjunct to the old Russian/Soviet empire or an exotic setting for the 'Great Game' between the superpowers which started in the 19th century.

The workshop seeks to advance a more nuanced understanding of Central Asia by putting it into a long-term historical and geographic context and privileging perspectives from the ground.

The workshop brings together two world-famous keynote speakers and 12 Australian scholars who will discuss and debate the following topics:

What is Central Asia as a distinct historical, geographic, and cultural phenomenon?
How do local peoples view themselves and are viewed from the outside?
What are China, Russia and the West up to in the region, and how do the Central Asian states interact with them?
How do the former Soviet republics deal with the problems of governance, nation-building and Islamic radicalism?
Is sustainable development achievable in Central Asia?
Why is Central Asia important to Australia?

Keynote speakers:

Distinguished Professor David Christian, Macquarie University
Professor Reuel Hanks, Oklahoma State University
 
The workshop invites faculty, experts, government officials, members of the business and NGO communities, and the general public to participate in the interactive discussion.

All knowledge and comfort levels with Central Asia are welcome.