George Washington University, Washington DC – Wednesday 8 December 2021

Editors on Central Asia: New handbooks for a maturing field

Four new handbooks on Central Asia appeared in rapid succession by late 2021 or are coming in early 2022:

The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Central Asia, edited by Rico Isaacs and Erica Marat 

The European Handbook of Central Asian Studies: History, Politics, and Societies, edited by Jeroen Van den Bosch, Adrien Fauve and Bruno De Cordier

Central Asia: Contexts for Understanding, edited by David W. Montgomery

The Central Asian World, edited by Jeanne Féaux de la Croix and Madeleine Reeves (in the Routledge world series)

In this panel hosted by GWU, Four of the editors sit together and present the rationale behind each book project, the challenges they faced when framing the region (Central Asia or Central Eurasia), selecting topics and time frames, recruiting authors and how they provide value to their target audiences. Moreover, the editors will discuss their take on the state of the discipline and what under-explored topics and new pathways lie ahead.


Erica Marat is an Associate Professor at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University. Her research focuses on violence, mobilization and security institutions in Eurasia, India, and Mexico. Before joining NDU, Dr. Marat was a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center. Dr. Marat latest book titled The Politics of Police Reform: Society against the State in Post-Soviet Countries (Oxford University Press 2018) and co-edited The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Central Asia (Routledge 2021).

Jeroen Van den Bosch (PhD) studied Area Studies (Slavonic Studies) and Political Science (International Relations) at the Catholic University in Leuven (Belgium) before obtaining his PhD at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (AMU) on the topic of personalist rule in Sub Saharan Africa, recently revised and turned into a book (Routledge, 2021). He continues to study authoritarian eco-systems as an independent scholar and works at AMU as a project coordinator. Currently, he (co-)coordinates several Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships (, His research fields encompass theories of dictatorships, their classification, autocratic cooperation, democratization, political regimes theories, bridging IR and Dictatorship research. With his background on Sub Saharan Africa and Central Asia he is currently branching out to make comparisons to other world regions. He is one of the editors of the recent European Handbook of Central Asian Studies: History, Politics, and Societies.

David W. Montgomery is a research professor in the Department of Government and Politics and the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the director of program development for CEDAR–Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion. His books include Central Asia: Contexts for Understanding, Practicing Islam: Knowledge, Experience, and Social Navigation in Kyrgyzstan, Living with Difference: How to Build Community in a Divided World, and Everyday Life in the Balkans.

Madeleine Reeves is a social anthropologist with a background in the study of social and political thought and Russian and Soviet history. She received my MA from the University of Chicago and my BA and PhD from the University of Cambridge. She joined the University of Manchester in 2007, initially as an RCUK Research Fellow in Conflict, Cohesion and Change in the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), and subsequently as a lecturer in the Social Anthropology discipline area. Since 1999 she has conducted ethnographic research in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia, on issues of borders, citizenship, place and the politics of mobility.


Sébastien Peyrouse, PhD, is a Research Professor at the Central Asia Program in the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (George Washington University) and a Senior Fellow with the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China relations. His main areas of expertise are political systems in Central Asia, economic and social issues, Islam and religious minorities, and Central Asia’s geopolitical positioning toward China, India and South Asia.

Watch the online discussion here

This event was funded by the European Union Erasmus+ program, through the EISCAS project.

Number of events realized

Back to top