The Newsletter 70 Spring 2015

Scenarios for future Central Asian studies

Nargis Kassenova

The future of Central Asian studies will depend on the future of the region itself (here I focus on five former Soviet Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). The shape or condition of regional studies depends on funding, which is driven by the interest held for this region by external countries and regions, based on the impact it already has on others or its perceived future prospects. The external levels of interest shape research trends and themes; a change in interests can result in the reformatting of the field of Central Asian studies. The reformatting of the field can also be caused by the ongoing changes on the ground: shifts in identity, languages spoken, economic and social linkages with other regions. Political alliances, in my view, play a secondary role.