Elected to be President of the Central Eurasian Studies Society

CESS, the Central Eurasian Studies Society, just elected me as its new President.  It is a three-year term as one of its executives:  I start in October as its President-Elect, become its President in October 2020 (when Ohio State University hosts the CESS annual conference), and its Past President in October 2021. I have seen CESS as a crucial institution in promoting a broad vision of Central Eurasian studies, where different disciplinary perspectives substantively engage each other to make fuller sense of the region’s issues, and where knowledge of this region also speaks to problems beyond it.  I would like to further these goals by serving as its President.

Global Centre for Pluralism projects in Kyrgyzstan

I was involved with Kyrgyz, Canadian, Dutch, and U.S. colleagues in two projects in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (December 2016) by the Global Centre for Pluralism (Ottawa, Canada):

  1. Workshop with the History Commission of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, 13 December 2016, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  2. “Forum on History and Memory: Toward an Inclusive Society”, 12 December 2016, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.



Islamic revival and social justice

I’ve just written a Huffington Post blog piece on the relationship between Islamic revival and social justice.  I hope to be writing on this topic every so often.

How can Islamism be understood and evaluated more “on its own terms”?  Do its claims make sense within their own frameworks, and do they deliver what they themselves promise?  That is what I’m trying to weigh.

Click here for the piece.

Giving a public lecture about Central Asia & the World


When outsiders think about Central Asia, they tend to view the ex-Soviet Muslim region through the lens of their own interests and standards.  They think of it as a new source of oil, or as a region still needing western assistance in building free markets, democratic governance, or civil society almost 25 years after the Soviet collapse.  But what kind of societies do Central Asians themselves want to have, and how do they see their place in the world today?  And what can their perspectives teach the rest of the world?