XVII ESCAS Conference Almaty 2023

“Power, people and cultural change in an ever-evolving Central Asia”

21 – 24 September 2023, Almaty, Kazakhstan



The European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) invites proposals for individual papers, panels and round-table discussions for the 18th ESCAS conference, which will take place on 22-24 September 2023, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In line with regional traditions, the conference will have a nomadic format and will be held in collaboration with the German-Kazakh University, Al Farabi University and KIMEP University. This format will allow you to experience different academic environments and networking with colleagues from various disciplines.

After a long break due to the pandemic, we are now looking to revitalise ESCAS as an inclusive academic platform which responds to the needs of  exchanging information and ideas and identifying challenges and opportunities of conducting research in and about Central Asia, fostering  discussions between disciplines and scholarly traditions. The topic of  this year’s conference is very broad and reflects the fact that ESCAS is interested in contributions from the humanities,  social sciences, and economics disciplines. The broad scope of the conference is particularly suitable for interdisciplinary collaborations. Therefore, whether you are interested in research on remote areas, socio-economic transformations in the region, societal and cultural change, macro or micro tendencies, anthropology or economics, sociology or political science or cross-disciplinary research, you are very much encouraged to submit an abstract and join us in Almaty.

The broad Central Asia region as a topic encourages us to look at the power shifts that are now unfolding, due not only to the current war in Ukraine, but also  to the changing role of the region in economic, cultural and developmental issues. We would like to promote the event as a showroom of research on Central Asia, promote collaborations and exchanges between researchers and institutions and offer career development opportunities for young and mid-career researchers.

We welcome a regional focus on the broader Central Asian region and  invite interested researchers to submit an abstract for individual papers, panels, or roundtables. Proposals can be related to all aspects of research in the arts, humanities and social sciences on Central Asia – namely the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, together with Xinjiang, Mongolia, Afghanistan and adjacent regions of Russia, China, Iran, South Asia and the Caucasus.

Information about the conference (to be published soon)

Preliminary program (to be published soon)

Our program will feature:

1) Academic presentations in the form of:

  • Panel (submitted as a whole or individual panel discussions that we will assemble based on the submitted papers);
  • Roundtable;
  • Book presentation or discussion of a recently published book.

2) Research discussions: based on the presentations we will receive, we will identify some thematic clusters and moderate discussions on how to progress research on/in Central Asia, based on the latest tendencies and interests of the conference participants.

3) Academic matching session: we will gather researchers from a variety of institutions and create an environment where they can meet, identify common research interests and start new collaborations

4) Training for early-career researchers: how to publish in a top journal and how to apply for funding, seen from a non-conventional and non-orthodox perspective and inspired by The SCOPUS Diaries and the (il)logics of Academic Survival A Short Guide to Design Your Own Strategy and Survive Bibliometrics, Conferences, and Unreal Expectations in Academia;

5) Cultural activities: if there is interest, we will explore together the rapidly-changing cultural scene in Almaty that includes the emergence of music, ethnic cafes, and fusion restaurants revisiting Kazakh and Central Asian cultural and food heritage. These will be optional activities to the main conference program and will be organised only upon sign up. More detailed information will be provided closer to the conference starting date.

Proposal submission rules

  1. For individual paper proposals: a paper title, an abstract of max. 300 words, a short biography and contact email of the author;
  • For panel proposals: a panel title, an abstract of max. 400 words, short biography and contact emails of the convenors, discussant, and chair. Panels shall have a minimum of 3 to maximum of 4 speakers, one to two discussants, and a chair. If you cannot identify a discussant or chair, we can help you with that and allocate a chair or discussant for you;
  • For roundtables and book discussions: a roundtable title, an abstract of max. 300 words, short biographies and contact details of the speakers and chair. Roundtables must have a chair and minimum of 3 to maximum of 5 speakers. If you cannot identify a chair, we can help you with that and allocate a chair for you. For book presentations/discussions, please add “Book Discussion” followed by the title of the book and author.

Once the paper selection is made, we will contact you asking what other sessions (training sessions, research discussions, partner findings, cultural activities) you may be interested in.

Language of the presentations

The primary language of the ESCAS Conference is English; however, proposals for academic presentations to be conducted primarily in other languages are welcome and encouraged. Panel proposals, roundtables, and book discussions should indicate the planned working language in brackets after the title (e.g. [Uzbek], [Russian], etc.) and submit an abstract in English followed by the abstract in the non-English language. Individual paper proposals can only be accepted if they will be delivered in English.

Travel support

To encourage  the participation of early-career researchers from the Central Asian region with little support from their institutions, ESCAS is delighted to confirm the availability of 6 travel grants to Almaty. Each grant amounts up to €250 and is intended to support travel-related expenses.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a short motivation letter with your abstract indicating your circumstances (why your institution cannot support you and how much you expect your travel to cost). Priority may be given to scholars from the region (over those based in Europe/US). If you may apply for funding within your organisation, you are warmly encouraged to do so, as this would allow us to allocate money to scholars with no support.

How to apply

Please submit a 300 word abstract and 2-3 lines of biographical statement to escastudies@protonmail.com by March 15, 2023.

If you wish, you can also add information about any other activities you wish to offer (cultural tour in Almaty, deliver a training session, hold a research discussion, or other). Please contact us for any clarification.

Conference fee

The conference fee is 30 euros for scholars affiliated with Central Asian universities, 50 euros for those based in other universities. The conference fee will cover the cost of material, coffee breaks and the welcome/network dinner

NB: only for this year, to encourage participation, no membership is required (as you save on membership fee, the only cost will be the one above).

About the organiser

European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS)

ESCAS emerged from an informal collaboration among Europe-based scholars with the purpose of promoting joint research and interdisciplinary studies on Central Asia in 1985. Cooperation was later institutionalised in 1995 when the Society was established. For more information see: http://www.escas.org/


Call for proposal 3 February
Proposal submission deadline  15 March
Notification of Acceptance 30 April
Online Registration opens 31 May
Online registration ends 31 July
Preliminary Program 15 August
Registration Payment Deadline 10 August
On-site registration for all Delegates (only upon special agreement, i.e. no access to bank transfer) 22 September
Start of the Conference 22 September
End of the Conference 24 September