Central Asian Studies

Gok-Tepe Northrop

From the early 1990s, the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) have collaborated on activities to build the University of Michigan's profile in Central Asian studies. In recognition of the region's enhanced geopolitical importance as well as greater student interest, CREES and CMENAS have mounted annual Central Asia-focused lecture series and symposia since 1993 and joined with the Center for South Asian Studies to offer distance instruction in various Central Asian languages (Kazakh, Pashto, Uzbek) since 2004.

In the past decade, CREES has worked with other U-M units to secure approval for two tenured faculty positions in Modern Central Asian Studies, one in history/Near Eastern studies and one in political science.


The following faculty, research associates, and staff contribute to the University of Michigan's training, research, and outreach activities in Central Asian studies. For more information, see CREES People and CMENAS People.

University of Michigan Faculty

Branch, John:  Business
Brown, Daniel G.: Natural Resources and Environment
Gocek, Fatma Muge:  Sociology, Women's Studies
Hagen, Gottfried:  Near Eastern Studies
Jones Luong, Pauline:  Political Science
King, Elizabeth: Health Behavior and Health Education
Knysh, Alexander:  Near Eastern Studies
Lawrence, Janet:  Education
Levey, Benjamin: History, University of Michigan, Dearborn
Maiorova, Olga:  Slavic Languages and Literatures
Meeks, Robyn: Natural Resources and Environment
Northrop, Douglas:  History, Near Eastern Studies

CREES Research Associates

Benson, Linda:  History, Oakland University
McMann, Kelly:  Political Science, Case Western Reserve University

Library Staff: Slavic and East European Division

Slater, Walter


In 2011, CREES introduced a 15-credit undergraduate minor in Central Eurasian Studies. Students can also specialize on all or part of Central Asia within interdisciplinary bachelor's, master's, and graduate certificate programs in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. They may also emphasize the region in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in anthropology, business, comparative literature, economics, history, law, natural resources, Near Eastern studies, political science, public policy, and sociology.


The University of Michigan offers an array of courses addressing Central Asian culture, history, language, politics, and society (see below). For offerings in specific terms, see CREES courses

  • Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Persian Language
  • Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Turkish Language
  • Elementary and Intermediate Uzbek Language
  • NEAREAST/Asian/History/MENAS/REEES 340 - From Genghis Khan to the Taliban: Modern Central Asia
  • NEAREAST 490/590 - Topics in Near Eastern Studies (e.g., Contemporary Central Asia, Travel Literature in Central Asia, Russia and its ‘Easts’)
  • HISTORY 396 - History Colloquium (e.g., Central Asia)
  • HISTORY/MENAS/REEES 639 - Graduate Colloquium in Central Eurasian History
  • HISTORY 698 - Topics in History (e.g., Central Asian History)
  • POLSCI 389 - Topics in Contemporary Political Science (e.g., The Roots of Political Islam)


For complete information about Central Asian studies events, please visit the CREES Events Calendar. You may also sign up for our email or U.S. mail notifications.

Selected Major Central Asian Studies Events

Supporting Central Asian Studies at the University of Michigan

Gifts earmarked for "Central Asian studies" may be made to the CREES Endowment to support Central Asia-focused courses, lectures, conferences, film screenings, and other programs, as well as student awards for research and internships in the region. Please review the various options for making a gift.

For more information, contact Marysia Ostafin by email (mostafin@umich.edu) or phone (734.647.2237).