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The European Society for Central Asian Studies

Next ESCAS conference

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The next ESCAS conference in 2015 will take place in Switzerland.

The newly founded "Halle-Zurich Centre for the Anthropological Study of Central Asia" (CASCA) will organize and host the next ESCAS-conference at the University of Zurich.

The Centre pursues to strengthen joint research efforts with a regional focus on Central Asia and is therefore an ideal venue for the next ESCAS-conference.

The Centre builds on long-standing collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Dept. Integration and Conflict) in Halle, Germany and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The date and topic will be determined at a later stage



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In 1985 a group of scholars from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Denmark, working within Central Asian Studies decided to establish informal cooperation with the purpose of promoting joint research and interdisciplinary studies among European scholars on Central Asia.

The Department of Oriental Languages and Cultures of the University of Utrecht  took the initiative to organise the first and founding conference of ESCAS, inviting also scholars from Central Asia.

The immidiate purpose of the conference was to define the geographic area of Central Asia which would be dealt with.It was agreed to include the Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as well as adjacent areas of Mongolia, Northern Iran, Northern Afghanistan and Northwestern China. A primary reason for establishing ESCAS was to give Central Asian Studies the status of a separate research field in its own right, independent of Soviet and Eastern European studies, to establish research links with disciplines working within the same historical and cultural continuum in adjacent areas, and to create opportunities for direct cooperation between scholars of the former Soviet Central Asia and scholars in adjacent areas. It was agreed to hold conferences in order to maintain and develop European research cooperation and the exchange of information.




Since then the following conferences have taken place:

ESCAS II, London (1987), convened by the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

ESCAS III, Paris (1989), convened by Centre de Recherches Scientifiques en

Sciences Sociales et Politiques, Paris.

ESCAS IV, Bamberg (1991), convened by the Department of Oriental Studies, University of Bamberg.

ESCAS V, Copenhagen (1995), convened by the Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near-Oriental Studies, University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS).

ESCAS VI, Venice (1998), convened by "Universitaa Ca Foscari di Venezia" in Venice, Italy.

ESCAS VII, Vienna (2000), convened by the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna.

ESCAS VIII, Bordeaux (2002), convened by the Maison des sciences de l’homme Aquitaine and Institut français d’Etudes sur l’Asie centrale (IFEAC)

ESCAS IX, Krakow (2005), convened by Jagiellonian University.

ESCAS X, Ankara (2007), convened by the Middle East Technical University

ESCAS XI, Budapest (2009), convened by the Asia Research Initiative at the Central European University.

ESCAS XII, Cambridge (2011), convened by the Cambridge Central Asia Forum.

ESCAS XIII, Astana (2013), convened by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nazarbayev University


ESCAS President 2013 - 15: Professor Meruert Abusseitova (Almaty)

Current ESCAS Board:

Professor Ildiko Beller-Hann (Copenhagen)

Dr Judith Beyer (Halle)

Dr Alima Bissenova (Astana)

Dr Sally Cummings (St Andrews)

Professor Zhanylzhan Junussova (Astana)

Dr Gabriel McGuire (Astana)

Dr John Schoeberlein (Astana)

Dr Qahramon Yaqubov (Tashkent)

Membership Secretary and Treasurer: Dr Zifa-Alua Auezova (Leiden)

ESCAS Advisory Board:

Professor Touraj Atabaki (Leiden)

Professor Ayşe Güneş Ayata (Ankara)

Professor Peter Finke (Zurich)

Dr Matteo Fumagalli (Budapest)

Dr Irina Morozova (Berlin)

Dr Alexander Morrison, (Liverpool)

Professor Catherine Poujol (Paris)

Dr Tommaso Trevisani (Halle)

Professor Siddharth Saxena (Cambridge)

Dr Cholpon Turdalieva (Bishkek)

Dr Anne-Marie Vuillemenot (Louvain)