[No conference fee – registration only]

Conference Calendar
Program (final version)
Photo exhibition

Held in Ghent (in Flanders, Belgium) from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 September 2021.

The purposes of the event was threefold:

Firstly, to bring together scholars, students, interested members of the public and policymakers working on or interested in the Central Asian region to interact and, as such, strengthen a network of Central Asia-related research and -education in Europe.

Secondly, to show, by examining its identities and historical roots, societal and political dynamics, external interactions, and economy and environment, that the Central Asian region is not merely a passive object in abstract geopolitics, but that it also has histories, societies, identities and aspirations of its own.

Thirdly, examine what (potential) effects and impacts of developments in Central Asia, a region situated right beyond Europe’s eastern rim, have on the EU and Europe in general (and vice-versa).

Central Asia is defined here as the five Central Asia successor states of the Soviet Union (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with Karakalpakstan), and the Chinese province of Xinjiang. However, participation to the event is certainly not limited to the audience of hardcore Central Asia specialists. We encourage cross-case thematic and comparative examinations and, thus, attendance and input by people who work or are interested in the field of EU studies, on Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Islamic world beyond Central Asia, China, …

The conference is interdisciplinary in the humanities (social and political sciences, history, anthropology, cultural and religious studies, social geography …).

Along with the ‘European handbook of Central Asian studies. History, politics and societies,’ which is going to be published in September 2021 by ibidem-Verlag in Stuttgart, this conference is one of the key outcomes of the EISCAS consortium, It offers three days of keynote lectures, round tables and thematic panels.


This conference is co-funded by the Erasmus Plus program of the European Union.

Our official PARTNERS are:

WIKISTAN – an organic community of Central Asia scholars that welcomes new members – (no membership fee required)

European Society for Central Asian StudiesESCAS – a longstanding informal cooperation network of Central Asian scholars

Centre for Anthropological Studies on Central AsiaCASCA – A new center for anthropological research and collaboration based in Switzerland and Germany.

Novostan.org – An expert French-German language news organization providing critical views on contemporary Central Asian Developments.

We also want to say a special ‘thank you’ to the Central Eurasian Studies Society – CESS, the H2020 SEnECA project on EU-CA relations, and Central Asia Inside OutCASIO for helping us spreading the word and their informal support.



(Pan-)Europe and Central Asia: a natural complementarity?

  • Fabienne Bossuyt, CEUS-Universiteit Gent, on the EU and its policies towards the Central Asian region (exact title to be confirmed).
  • Jonathan Holslag, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, on the EU and the former USSR vis-à-vis China (exact title to be confirmed).

Are the colonial and postcolonial paradigms applicable to the Central Asian region? by Svetlana Gorshenina (Alerte Héritage, France)

External soft power exercising in Central Asia: how is it shaping the (perception of) the region

(On the occasion of the publication on the book “Soft power in Central Asia. The politics of influence and seduction”, edited by Sébastien Peyrouse)

  • Sébastien Peyrouse (George Washington University)
  • Bruno De Cordier (Univ. of Ghent)
  • Karolina Kluczewska (Univ. of Duisburg-Essen)
  • John Irgengioro (Univ. of Ghent)

Screening of the Kazakh documentary film “The other side of oilПо ту сторону нефти.”  by Lukpan Akhmedyarov and Raul Uporov. (https://crudeaccountability.org/the-other-side-of-oil-documentary/ )

Followed by:

“How many sides does oil have? A critical commentary on Akhmedyarov’s and Uporov’s documentary, and on Kazakhstan’s (post-)oil futures.”

  • Maurizio G. Totaro (Univ. of Ghent)

Does Central Asia (still) needs international development aid? (to be updated)

  • Karolina Kluczewska, (Univ. of Duisburg-Essen) (Discussant)
  • Fabienne Bossuyt (Univ. of Ghent) (Discussant)
  • Bruno De Cordier, Conflict Research Group, Universiteit Gent (Moderator)


The geopolitics of gender and sexuality in the Eastern Partnership and (possible) impacts on Central Asia

  • by Laura Luciani, CEUS-Universiteit Gent
  • Rano Turaeva-Hoehne, LMU München / Max Planck Institute
  • Baktybek Kainazarov, Women program Officer (IREX, RepresentWomen, etc.) (Discussant)


We invite proposals for papers, presentations and creative input for the twenty panels clustered in five thematic clusters.

Economy and environment• natural resources and economic diversification
• environment and ecology
• agriculture and rural development
• urbanization and urban development
Governance, state and politics• leadership, succession and society
• state-building
• international relations, international orientations and soft power
• securitization and defense
Societal-identitarian dynamics• official and grassroots national identities
• dynamics of religion, religious identification and (post-)secularism
• ethnic and social minorities
• patterns, dynamics and impacts of migrations
Culture and/in society• traditional folk and popular culture and the ‘high-arts’
• language and language-and-alphabet policies
• sports, society and national identity
• cultural impacts of globalization and counter-reactions
Social situations and dynamics• demography, population and families
• informal economy and coping mechanisms
• the state and dynamics of public health
• the state and dynamics of education and research

IMPORTANT NOTE: Papers on Xinjiang and Mongolia are welcome if they touch upon the topics listed in the sessions

REGISTRATION – now closed

• the conference language is English
• the conference will only take place in a traditional (face-to-face) way (not in digital or in hybrid format).

Attending the conference without presenting is possible, but registration is now closed. We have a foreseen a (limited) number of places for such participants. Likewise there is no conference fee, but your eventual attendance will be conditional on two issues:

  • Time of registration (first come first serve)
  • Confirmation of registration (all planning to attend must confirm their participation a couple weeks before the event, only then will they be issued a final confirmation from the organizers).

Number of events realized

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