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ESCAS 2023 Regional Conference: “Power, people and cultural change in an ever evolving Central Asia”

22 – 24 September 2023, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Deadline for abstract submission : 15 March 2023 


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 hosted by the German-Kazakh University, Ablai Khan University, Al Farabi University and KIMEP University. This format will allow you to experience different academic environments and network with colleagues across 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.

Our programme will feature:

  • Academic presentations in the form of:
  • Panel (submitted as a whole) individual panel discussions that we will assemble based on the submitted papers;
  • Individual paper;
  • Roundtable;
  • Book presentation

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) Partner-finding events: 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 by approaching potential research partners

3) Cultural activities: you will be introduced to the rapidly-changing cultural scene in Almaty that includes the emergence of music, ethnic cafes, fusion restaurants revisiting Kazakh and Central Asian cultural and food heritage

  • Training for early-career researchers (how to publish in a top journal, 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

If you are interested, we invite you to submit:

  • Paper proposals (send an abstract of max. 300 words, a short biography and contact email of the authors)
  • Panel proposal (4-5 presentations, contact email of the authors and of the organiser. If you cannot identify a discussant or chair, we can help you with that and allocate a chair for you)
  • Roundtable and book discussions based on a topic or a discussion of a recently published book (3-5 participants and a moderator)

Once paper selection is made, we will contact you asking what other sessions (trainings, 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 panels to be conducted primarily in other languages are welcome and encouraged. Panel proposals 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 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 based in Central Asia, 50 euros for those based in Europe or the US and it 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).


European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS)

ESCAS emerged out of 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 institutionalized in 1995 when the Society was established. For more information see:


Call for proposal


Proposal submission deadline

 15 March

Notification of Acceptance

Beginning of April

Online Registration opens

30 April

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

Contact details

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

You can visit the ESCAS website and ESCAS new Facebook page for more information about ESCAS and for up-to-date information on the conference