Monday, April 9, 2007

REMINDER- "Building Anthropology in Eurasia," Call for Applications; Deadline: Apr. 15

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

REMINDER- "Building Anthropology in Eurasia," Call for Appl.; Deadline: Apr. 15

Posted by: John Schoeberlein <>

Dear Colleagues:

As the deadline approaches, we would like to encourage applications
for the program "Building Anthropology in Eurasia." We expect to have
a great group of participants, representing a wide range of interests
and backgrounds, but each bringing their own rich contribution,
whether it be a strong background in anthropology, a deep familiarity
with aspects of Eurasian culture and society, or solid research and
teaching experience in related fields of study. If you know of
someone who would be a good match for this program, please pass on the
information and encourage them to apply.

The program will devote practical attention to all aspects of
anthropological work, from conceptualizing research projects to
grant-seeking, teaching and ethics. If you would like more detail
than what is provided below, please write to us to request a detailed
program overview. Contact: Aida Alymbaeva <aaly(at)> or
John Schoeberlein <schoeber(at)>.

Thank you,

Aida Alymbaeva
John Schoeberlein
Mukaram Toktogulova
Co-directors of the ReSET project on "Building Anthropology in Eurasia"

Call for Applications

Program on "Building Anthropology in Eurasia" - ReSET

- Three-year program
- First year summer session at Isiq Qol (Issyk Kul), Kyrgyzstan,
July 15 - August 3
- Supported by: Open Society Institute, Higher Education Support Program
under the Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching (ReSET) program

"Building Anthropology in Eurasia"

Discipline: Social and Cultural Anthropology
Project Period: June 2007 - May 2010
Target Region: "Eurasia": Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan,
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Southern Russia, and
Western China (Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia); those
from outside this region may be able to participate
on certain terms (see below)
Host: Aigine Cultural Research Center, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
(in cooperation with the Dept. of Cultural Anthropology
and Archaeology at American University-Central Asia,
Bishkek, and the Program on Central Asia and the
Caucasus at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., USA)
Working Lang.: English (required)
Co-directors: Aida A. Alymbaeva (AUCA), John Schoeberlein (Harvard
Univ.), Mukaram Toktogulova (AUCA)
Contact: Aida A. Alymbaeva <mailto:aaly(at)>
Appl. Deadline: April 15, 2007

We invite you to become a participant in something new and exciting.
Anthropology, as known elsewhere in the world, did not exist in the
Soviet Union, and has been very slow to develop in much of the post-
Soviet space. While scholarship in the region has its own strong
tradition of studying culture and society, this tradition is only
beginning to be exposed to many of the theoretical concerns,
methodological approaches, and professional considerations that
characterize anthropology internationally. The Regional Seminar on
"Building Anthropology in Eurasia" will undertake to provide a
substantial beginning for anthropology to scholars in this new space.

If you are an aspiring anthropologist, or if you are a scholar of
culture, society, politics, history, etc. and would like to learn more
about anthropological approaches, we encourage you to join us. This
will be an extraordinary gathering in its way: We will begin with
three weeks on the shores of the "pearl of Central Asia" -- Isiq Qol
(Issyk Kul), "the hot lake" nestled in the spectacular mountains of
the Alatau. We will bring together world-prominent faculty -- notably
three professors from Harvard University -- and an aspiring younger
generation of scholars to explore anthropology and its potential to
inspire and give grounding to scholarship in and of the region. We
will challenge many common assumptions, explore innovative approaches
to research and teaching, and create a small community of the
"anthropologically inspired."

Anthropology, in international scholarship, occupies a special
position. It overlaps with essentially all social science fields and
many fields of the humanities. What distinguishes anthropology is its
theoretical frameworks, its fine-grained field methodology, and its
holistic approach, which seeks to understand all social and cultural
phenomena in their rich and complex context. In international
scholarship, there has been a tremendous flow of ideas and approaches
from anthropology to other fields, for example, with anthropological
qualitative methods (e.g., participant observation, life history)
assuming an important role in fields such as sociology or social
history, and theoretical approaches borrowed widely, for example, by
political scientists studying "clans" or patronage networks, and
historians studying religion. Because non-anthropologists in Eurasia
are largely unfamiliar with anthropology, they are also unfamiliar
with the ways that other fields internationally have benefited from
inputs from anthropology, and there are many new approaches to be

ReSET on "Building Anthropology in Eurasia"

This Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching (ReSET), like others,
involves a group of about 25 younger faculty from the region -- in
this case, the region of Eurasia (see definition below) -- and a group
of resource faculty who work together over three years: We will meet
for about three weeks each summer and interact in other ways through
the rest of the three-year period. The goal is to pursue activities
which will strengthen university-level teaching of anthropology,
whether it be in courses on anthropology or in university departments
teaching related fields while employing anthropological approaches.
Important components of this ReSET include building an understanding
of how anthropology is pursued in research, and how research is
integrated with the undergraduate teaching process.

The Seminar will explore seven key dimensions relevant to building
anthropology in this region, looking at: 1) how anthropologists are
trained, 2) how theory and thematic issues serve to inspire
anthropological research, 3) how research is conducted, 4) how one
participates in the international network of anthropological
scholarship to obtain grants, break through in publications, etc.,
5) how anthropology is written for various purposes, 6) the ethical
considerations which guide anthropologists, and 7) the ways that
anthropology can contribute to the analysis of Eurasian cultures
and societies.

At the end of the first three-week session of the Seminar,
participants will have: 1) had the opportunity to gain a close
acquaintance with internationally prominent anthropologists and
anthropologists studying Eurasian societies, 2) gained an in-depth
exposure to anthropology as it is relevant today, especially for the
purposes of teaching and doing research in this region, 3) had the
opportunity to interact substantively and establish friendships with
colleagues with similar interests, and 4) begun work on research and
teaching projects related to their own -- usually well-developed
research agendas -- which will build the grounding in anthropology in
their own careers through intensive discussion and feedback.
Furthermore, while the program will be intensive and demanding, and it
will aim to challenge you and provoke you to assimilate new
approaches, we will do all of this in the beautiful and relaxing
environment of the shores of the Isiq Qol, with time also to enjoy
nature's beauty, the pristine waters, and the company of colleagues.

This ReSET is organized by co-directors Aida Alymbaeva (American
University-Central Asia=AUCA), John Schoeberlein (Harvard University),
and Mukaram Toktogulova (AUCA). The institutional host is the Aigine
Cultural Research Center in Bishkek (where Alymbaeva is also
affiliated), in cooperation with the Dept. of Cultural Anthropology
and Archaeology at AUCA and the Program on Central Asia and the
Caucasus at Harvard University. The Core Resource Faculty of the
ReSET, in addition to the three co-directors, include Gulnara Aitpaeva
(Aigine), Theodore Bestor (Harvard), and Michael Herzfeld (Harvard).
See the full list of resource faculty below.

Project Activities

During the first summer session, there will be a variety of
activities, including seminars and workshops on anthropological
theories, field methods, ethics, teaching strategies, grant seeking,
academic writing and publishing, and much more. In the course of 19
program days (not including arrival and departure days), there will be
16 work days and 3 days for cultural program or individual
exploration. Most work days will consist of four meetings of varied
character -- each 1.5 hours -- including seminars, roundtables,
practicums and project work, interspersed with organized meals and
coffee breaks, as well as a three-hour period in the afternoon for
reading, socializing and relaxation.

Both during the summer session, and in the remainder of the year
following the summer session, participants will be expected to carry
out a number of projects of varying dimensions, including projects in
research, teaching, and curriculum development. The ReSET -- both
faculty and participants -- will provide intensive inputs and feedback
on the projects, and the outcomes will be aimed at practical
implementation. For example, we expect the research projects to yield
contributions to your field and publications; the pedagogical projects
will yield plans that can be implemented as new courses and curricula.

While the theme during the first year is "The Growth of
Anthropological Knowledge," focusing on the foundation of the field
and participation in this project, the second year will be devoted to
an exploration of "Anthropology's Cutting Edges" (what is current and
exciting in the field), and the third year will emphasize "Putting
Anthropology to Use" toward practical and theoretical ends in higher
education, in the world and in various fields of scholarship. More
information about the program may be obtained by contacting the

Resource Faculty

Gulnara Aitpaeva, Doktor filologicheskikh nauk (Academy of Sciences of
the Kyrgyz Republic), Director of Aigine Cultural Research Center,
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Aida A. Alymbaeva, Instructor, Dept. of Cultural Anthropology and
Archaeology, AUCA, Bishkek; Researcher, Aigine Cultural Research
Center, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Theodore C. Bestor, PhD in Anthropology (Stanford Univ.); Professor of
Anthropology, Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University, USA
Arienne Dwyer, PhD in Chinese and Altaic Linguistics (Univ. of
Washington, Seattle), Asst. Professor of Linguistic Anthropology,
Univ. of Kansas, USA
Michael Herzfeld, DPhil in Anthropology (Univ. of Oxford), Professor
of Anthropology, Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University, USA
Nathan Light, PhD in Folklore and Anthropology (Indiana Univ.),
Postdoctoral Fellow, Miami University of Ohio, USA
Morgan Liu, PhD in Anthropology (Univ. of Michigan), Asst. Professor,
Ohio State University, USA
John Schoeberlein, PhD in Anthropology (Harvard Univ.), Director,
Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus, and Lecturer on
Anthropology, Harvard University, USA
Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, PhD in Anthropology (Stanford University);
Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Univ. of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Mukaram Toktogulova, Kandidat filologicheskikh nauk (Academy of
Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic), Associate Professor, Dept. of
Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology, AUCA, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Note: The summer session of another ReSET (on "Nationhood and
Narrative") will run concurrently with our ReSET on Anthropology,
which will offer participants in our ReSET some opportunity to get to
know colleagues in the other project. In addition, we expect to
involve some of the faculty of that project in contact sessions of the
Anthropology ReSET, including, for example, round tables on
anthropology's relationship to social history and to sociology. These
faculty members will include: Sergei Abashin (Russian Academy of
Sciences), Sarah Amsler (Kingston Univ., UK), Gulnara Ibraeva (AUCA,
Bishkek), Adeeb Khalid (Carleton College, USA), Madeleine Reeves (Univ.
of Cambridge, UK), and Jeff Sahadeo (Carleton Univ., Canada).


* Applicants must be pursuing a career to teach at the undergraduate
university level. Most participants will be those who currently teach
courses for students pursuing "diplom" (i.e., post-secondary, or BA
equivalent) at institutions of higher education in the region. Some
participants may be those with advanced training in their field who
anticipate teaching undergraduate courses within two years.
* Target participants are drawn from the "Eurasian region" - defined,
for the purposes of this ReSET, to include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Southern Russia, and Western China.
"Southern Russia" and "Western China" do not have clearly defined
boundaries, but are understood as those which are closely linked
geographically, culturally and historically with the mentioned
countries. In Russia, these include places like the Northern
Caucasus, the Volga Basin, the Altay region, Tuva and Buryatia. In
China, these include Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and adjacent regions.
(Those from outside of "Eurasia" as defined here who are interested
in participating may be able to; see note under "Provisions for
Participants" below.)
* No prior training in anthropology is required. However, prior
background in anthropology -- independent reading, participation in
seminars, advanced training, etc. -- will be considered a sign that
the applicant is more committed to the goals of the ReSET and will
have more to bring to it. Those with advanced degrees in
sociocultural anthropology are encouraged to apply, as the program
will be geared toward the needs of those with both greater and lesser
knowledge of anthropology.
* Applicants may be those whose major focus is anthropology itself.
Equally, they may be those who expect to use anthropological methods,
theories and approaches in their scholarship and teaching in another
related field (sociology, history, political science, cultural
studies, etc.).
* A strong knowledge of both spoken and written English is a very
important requirement for participants. The ReSET will be conducted
in English, and will involve participants who have no other common
language. In order to develop an in-depth understanding of
anthropology, to read the essential literature, and to contribute to
international scholarly discourse and publication, English is vital.
* For those who may already be involved in (or considering applying
to) another ReSET project, please note that the ReSET program does
not allow ReSET funding to go toward any individual in more than one
ReSET project in a given year. (Participation in a second ReSET is
allowed only if funding to cover that individual is obtained from
another source.)
* All participants are expected to participate in all three years of
the project, and all applicants must be able to commit to this.
* There are no age limitations, but applicants who have some maturity
as teachers and scholars, as well as showing the flexibility to take
on new approaches typical of younger scholars, are expected to be
better able to benefit from and contribute to the project.

Provisions for Participants

Costs related to the ReSET project, including travel expenses,
accommodation, meals and reading materials will be covered by the
ReSET by means of a grant from the Open Society Institute's Higher
Education Support Program.

With the OSI grant, we are able to support full costs of participation
only in the case of participants from the target region. However,
participation may be possible for a small number of non-"Eurasian"
participants with support from other sources (especially if you can
find your own support for transportation to Kyrgyzstan). Those
interested should enquire with A. Alymbaeva.

Application Process

Deadline: April 15, 2007 at 17:00 Bishkek time (i.e., GMT +6:00).
Applications received after the deadline cannot be assured

Applications should be sent via email to both addresses:
aaly(at) (Aida Alymbaeva) and schoeber(at)
(John Schoeberlein's address is provided as a backup in case of
communications failures; most correspondence will be with Aida
Alymbaeva and her assistants during this period).

Important Note: Once the first-round selection is completed, the
organizers will contact all of the top candidates by telephone to make
an assessment of their English ability. In a brief interview,
candidates will be asked to discuss questions related to their
scholarly interests. For this purpose, it is essential that
applicants make sure they can be reached by telephone. We will
contact you by email to schedule the interview, so please make sure
that, during the period April 25-May 6, you are checking the email
address(es) you provide, so that we can communicate about scheduling.

We expect that the selection process will be completed by about May
11, and the applicants will be notified of the results shortly
thereafter. We will immediately begin the process to make travel
arrangements and inform you of preparations required in advance of the
Seminar (readings, and teaching and research project preparation).


To download the application, see:
To request it via email, write to: aaly(at) (Aida Alymbaeva)

All applications and accompanying documents must be sent in electronic
format. The application itself is a MS Word file that we will send
you upon request (write to: aaly(at), or you can download
from the following webpage:

materials (listed on the application form) should be in MS Word
format, or scanned and sent as JPEG (*.jpg) or Acrobat (*.pdf) files.


With questions about the project, please contact:

Aida A. Alymbaeva
email: aaly(at)
tel.: office: +996-312-66-69-69, +996-312-66-76-74
mobile: +996-502-62-69-96
fax: +996-312-66-76-73
Backup contact: John Schoeberlein <schoeber(at)>

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