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
Library Staff: Slavic and East European Division
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)
Selected Major Central Asian Studies Events
- Afghanistan 2011: Connections, Communities, Crises (Winter 2011)
- Afghanistan--The Once and Future War (March 12, 2009) (iTunes)
- Nauryz with Roksonaki - Lecture/Demonstration and Performance (March 18 and 20, 2008)
- Focus on Central Eurasia - A Series of Lectures, Films, and Performances (Fall 2007)
- Central Eurasian Studies Society Seventh Annual Conference (September 28-October 1, 2006)
- The Spatial Politics of Central Asian Oil and Gas (November 8, 2002)
- Boundaries and Social Movements: Islamist Political Organization in Tajikistan and Their Influence on Regional Politics and Policies (March 11, 2002)
- Art Treasures and Social Transitions: Cultural Preservation and Economic Imperatives (January 11, 2001)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (734.647.2237).
The following websites offer a starting place for information on Central Asia and Central Asian studies.
University of Michigan Resources
- Resources on Central Asia and the countries of Central Asia (University Library Slavic and East European Division)
- Why Not Kyrgyzstan? - an elementary-level curricular unit developed for CREES by Jennifer L. Zunk (PDF)
- Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region, Indiana University
- Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, Indiana University
- Central Asia Listservs (Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, University of Washington)
- Central Eurasian Studies Society
- REESWeb (Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh)
- Webliographies (Slavic and East European Language Research Center, Duke University)
- Central Eurasia Project