European Handbook of Central Asian Studies: History, Politics and Societies

(Forthcoming February 2021)


Bruno De Cordier

Adrien Fauve

Jeroen Van den Bosch

The handbook consists of five parts, which categorize the various chapter topics logically and consistently. The introduction contains three chapters: The first containing a solid reflection on the state of the discipline and how Europe has and will educate previous and future generations of Central Asian experts, and how such knowledges fares on the contemporary labor market.

The second chapter delves deeper into the most-asked question of the field: “What is Central Asia?” and hopes to bundle insights from various legacies of scholarship around the world to present not one, but several valid interpretations of where Central Asia starts and where it ends, with some recommendations for readers on what criteria they might want to use to formulate their own interpretation of this intangible research object.

The third introductory chapter presents a range of study and teaching techniques to all potential readers: students, their teachers, scholars, non-academic experts and a wider interested audience. This chapter will show how the various integrated elements of the handbook were designed to strengthen deep and strategic learning, either for self-study or for a classroom setting.



1. Why study Central Asia? – Adrien Fauve (Paris-Saclay)

2. Defining and delineating Central Asia – Bruno De Cordier (UGent) and Jeroen Van den Bosch (AMU)

3. How to use this handbook: study guide and didactic techniques – Justyna Hadaś (AMU)


4. The Islamization of Central Asia in the medieval period – Bruno de Cordier (UGent)

5. Early modern interactions between pastoral nomadic and sedentary societies in the Central Asian culture complex – Vincent Fourniau (EHESS-Centre d’études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques, i.c.w. IFÉAC)

6. Are the colonial and postcolonial paradigms applicable to the Central Asian region? – Svetlana Gorshenina (Collège de France, i.c.w. Ghent University)

7. Religions in Central Asia – Sebastien Peyrouse (George Washington University)

8. (Linguistic) culture, collective memory and remembrance culture in Central Asia – Abel Polese (Dublin City University)


9. Ethnicity, class and clan politics – Jeremy Smith (University of Eastern Finland)

10. Political parties and elections in Central Asia – Adrien Fauve (Paris-Saclay)

11. Political Regimes of and in Central Asia – Jeroen Van den Bosch (AMU Poznan)

12. Civil society in Central Asia – Baktybek Kainazarov (National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan)

13. Gender in Central Asia – Rano Turaeva-Hoehne (LMU München)

14. Law and/in Central Asia: Discourse and Praxis across the Soviet collapse – Scott Newton (SOAS)


15. History and evolution of geopolitics toward Central Asia – Slavomir Horak (Charles University in Prague)

16. Regional and intercontinental exchange spaces – Sebastien Peyrouse (George Washington University)

17. Foreign policy of Central Asian states – Catherine Poujol (IFÉAC)

18. Security and terrorism in Central Asia – Maria Raquel Freire and Bernardo Teles Fazendeiro (University of Coimbra)


19. Political economy and development of and in Central Asia – Luca Anceschi and Julia Schwab (Glasgow University)

20. Environment in Central Asia – Natalie Koch (Maxwell Syracuse Univ., i.c.w. Ghent University)

21. Migration in and from the Central Asian region – Bhavna Davé (SOAS)

22. Urbanization and rural-urban dynamics in Central Asia – Abel Polese (Dublin City University) i.c.w. Suzanne Harris-Brandts (MIT)

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