The Central Asia Initiative is funded by the Leiden research profile area Asian Modernities and Traditions with the purpose to establish Central Asian Studies at Leiden University. Throughout Feb 2015-December 2018, we will create a platform for the study of Central Asia in its broadest sense, by uniting and consolidating existing expertise and initiating new international collaboration resulting in joint applications for research funding. Key issues are cultural space, identity formation, geopolitics and heritage. New course modules on Central Asia will be developed and a series of outreach events will be organized.
Charles Melville, Professor of Persian History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Pembroke College, will be the Central Asia Visiting Professor from 20 November until 1 December 2017. Charles Melville will deliver a guest lecture on Thursday, 23 November, co-organized with LUCIS, and a masterclass on Monday, 27 November within the Central Asia Initiative at Leiden University.
12 September: Peter Frankopan to open the new TRC exhibition Dressing the "Stans": Textiles, dress and jewellery from Central Asia
On 12 September the new TRC Gallery exhibition 'Dressing the Stans: Textiles, dress and jewellery from Central Asia' will be opened during an informal buffet lunch at the TRC, between 12.30 and 13.30 by the famous Oxford scholar, Dr. Peter Frankopan, the author of the widely acclaimed book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (2015). The exhibition is co-funded by the Central Asia Initiative at Leiden University.
Two courses on Central Asia will be offered within the Leiden Central Asia Initiative, funded by the research profile area Asian Modernities and Traditions. 'History of Central Asia & Afghanistan' will be open to BA students of Middle Eastern Studies and 'Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia' to MA and MA research students of Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.
In 2017 the Central Asia Initiative at Leiden University offers several fieldwork grants to a max of 7,500 EUR. Only MA or MA Research students enrolled at Leiden University are eligible. The fieldwork should be carried out in one of the Central Asia countries by the end of 2018. The money can be used to fund research related to your MA thesis or to develop a PhD proposal related to Central Asia. Application deadline: 1 October 2017.
Yusen Yu wins the prestigious Graduate Student Prize of the Middle East Medievalists (MEM) with his article "Chinese Gold-decorated Paper and the Persianate Book Arts". The paper was presented at the Timurid conference in Leiden in May 2016.
The Central Asia project, funded by Asian Modernities and Traditions, has engaged in strengthening the Leiden University library collection in the areas of material culture, history, languages and geopolitics in Central Asia. UNESCO International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the Netherlands have recently donated books.
Dr. Gabrielle van den Berg receives a prestigious VICI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for her project "Turks, texts and territory: Imperial ideology and cultural production in Central Eurasia". Turkish nomadic rulers established large empires in the Middle East and Asia between the 11th and 14th centuries. This project will explain the link between their new political ideology and the production of art and literature, via the cultural heritage of five cities along the Silk Road: Kashgar, Samarkand, Ghazna, Tabriz and Konya. The grant application was also submitted as part of the Central Asia project, funded by Asian Modernities and Traditions.
The book explores the meaning of the Manas epic in Kyrzyg society. Based on extended periods of anthropological fieldwork between 1996 and 2000, the author Nienke van der Heide, analyses the calling of its performers, describes the transformations of the oral tradition in printed media and other forms of art, and examines its use as a key symbol for identity politics. The book is published by Rozenberg EHV Academic Press.
New Book: With Our Own Hands. A Celebration of Food and Life in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan
With Our Own Hands by Frederik van Oudenhoven and Jamila Haider tells the cultural and agricultural history of the Afghan and Tajik Pamirs. The book is in English, Dari and Tajik. The choice to make a book in these three languages was inspired by the authors' wish to return a copy to each community, school and library in the Pamirs.
Below you can find an overview of our past events.
Seminar on the occasion of the PhD defense ceremony of Deborah Kim on "Topics in the Syntax of Sarikoli", supervisors Prof. A.M. Lubotsky and Prof. M.G. Kossmann, co-supervisor Dr. Gabrielle van den Berg.
14 September: Lecture Dressing the Stans. Textiles and Dress from Central Asia by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood
As part of the Tour of Asia on 14 September, Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (TRC) will deliver the lecture "Dressing the Stans. Textiles and Dress from Central Asia". The event is co-organized with the Leiden Central Asia Initiative.
Partner Event: 7 September EAST PUBLIC Uzbekistan and Central Asia A Year After Karimov: Hopes, Challenges, and EU Dilemmas
A year after the death of Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov the international community is still trying to make sense of what his departure will mean for the country and the wider region. Karimov’s successor Shavkat Mirziyoyev seems to be committed to improving relations with neighbors, easing domestic repression, and liberalizing the economy.
Ron Sela, Associate Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington, will be the Central Asia Visiting Professor from 19 until 25 May 2017. Ron Sela will deliver a guest lecture on Monday, 22 May and a masterclass on Tuesday, 23 May within the Central Asia Initiative at Leiden University.
Masterclass by Ron Sela, Associate Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington. Ron Sela will be the Leiden Central Asia Visiting Professor from 19 until 25 May 2017.
Lecture by Ron Sela, Associate Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington. Ron Sela will be the Leiden Central Asia Visiting Professor from 19 until 25 May 2017.
11 May: Book Launch and Lecture "Dictators Without Borders: Global aspects of national governance in Central Asia"
A lecture by Dr John Heathershaw, University of Exeter based on the book “Dictators without borders” by Alexander Cooley and John Heathershaw, Yale University Press, 2017. Chair: Professor Marlies Glasius, University of Amsterdam. The event is organized by the ERC funded project ‘Authoritarianism in a Global Age’ at the University of Amsterdam.
Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies is looking for two PhD candidates in Central Asian / Middle Eastern Studies (2 PhD’s x 1.0 fte) Vacancy number 17-050. Applications must be received no later than 30 April 2017, with the interviews with shortlisted candidates scheduled for the end of May 2017.
YU Yusen has been a doctoral candidate at Heidelberg University, Germany, since 2014. His areas of interest span the fields of Islamic and Chinese studies, including history and culture of Islamicate Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and India.