Saturday, November 3, 2007

ROUNDTABLE- Islam in Central Asia: Perspectives from the Field, SRC, AUCA, Bishkek, Oct. 30

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

ROUNDTABLE- Islam in Central Asia: Perspectives from the Field, Bishkek, Oct 30

Posted by: Aida Alymbaeva <>

[NOTE: This notice reached CEL after the fact, but we pass on the
information for the benefit of those interested in the topic. Those
interested in this event may request a summary from SRC-AUCA. --CEL]

The Social Research Center ( at American University of Central
Asia presents:

ROUNDTABLE: Islam in Central Asia: Perspectives from the Field


Dr. John Schoeberlein, Director, Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus,
Harvard University

Dr. Kadyr Malikov, PhD in Islamic Studies, Madrid University, Researcher,
Institute for Strategic Aanlysis, Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University,
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Eren Murat Tasar, PhD candidate, History Department, Harvard University,
Visiting Research Fellow, SRC, AUCA

Baris Isci, PhD candidate, Anthropology Department, Washington
University in St. Louis, Visiting Research Fellow, SRC, AUCA

TIME: 15:00, October 30, 2007
VENUE: Room 315, AUCA (Main Building)
LANGUAGE: Russian-English


In his presentation, Dr. John Schoeberlein will consider the clash
between analytical frameworks used to study Islam in Central Asia and
the realities of lived and practiced Islam. He will address the impact
of these analytical frameworks on the way that scholars have analyzed
Islam's role (both in the West and in Soviet/post-Soviet scholarship),
as well as the way that this has influenced policy-making, both in the
region and outside of it. In particular, he will explore how Islamic
practices are believed to intersect with politics. He will also
consider briefly how these understandings, and ensuing policies, have
in turn influenced social practice related to Islam.

Eren Murat Tasar will discuss Islam and the Soviet period. By the end
of the Soviet period, both the Communist Party and the Soviet
government had developed a well-established vocabulary and apparatus
for describing and managing practices identified as "Islamic" in the
Union's territory. He will look at the nature of this apparatus, how
it developed over the Soviet period, and its pre-Soviet roots. His
approach will be broad and comparative, touching upon the management
of religion in the Russian and Ottoman empires, as well as in colonial
South Asia under the British. The key influences and mechanisms
borrowed from these states will be outlined alongside their importance
for the development of institutions and concepts in the Soviet period
related to Islam.

Baris Isci will touch upon dynamics of Islamization in Kyrgyzstan. The
Kyrgyz people have long been considered the least "religious" of
Muslim Central Asians, and have been called "ignorant" and even
"atheist" by Soviet officials and scholars, foreign Muslims,
politicians, Western researchers, local religious authorities, and
even by the Kyrgyz themselves. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union,
however, the Kyrgyz Muslims have been displaying a growing interest in
Islam. In the relatively liberal religious realm that followed lifting
of restrictions on religious expression, various groups and
individuals have made it their main project to make "nominal" Muslim
Kyrgyz into "true" Muslims. Who are these competing claimants to
religious authority? What strategies, practices and resources do they
deploy to Islamize the Kyrgyz, and how do the Kyrgyz people respond to
these initiatives? In her presentation, she aims to address these
issues first by sketching a typology of Islamic groups operating in
Bishkek. Then, she will focus on a particular Islamic group that has
been one of the major actors operating in the capital.

In his presentation entitled "Features of Islamic Political Process in
Kyrgyzstan: Religious Resource as a Factor of Threat or as One of the
Elements of State Development?", Dr. Kadyr Malikov will brief on
general tendencies of contemporary Islamic political process in
Kyrgyzstan and its interaction with other political systems. Dr.
Malikov will touch upon the problem of interrelationship of Islam and
democracy from theological point of view by specifying common views
and disagreements. He will also consider the instruments of state
regulation of this interrelationship at three levels: state, society
and believers.

For more information, please contact Social Research Center (

Central-Eurasia-L mailing list

No comments: