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WCED Panel. Flashpoint: Kazakhstan

Thursday, January 13, 2022
4:00-5:30 PM
What happened and what to expect next? This expert panel will analyze and discuss recent events across Kazakhstan that have made headlines worldwide.

Panelists: Pauline Jones, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC), U-M; Nurseit Niyazbekov, Assistant Professor of International Relations, KIMEP University; Edward Schatz, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto; Regina Smyth, Professor of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington

Moderator: Adam Casey, WCED Postdoctoral Fellow

Pauline Jones is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC). Previously, she served as Director of UM’s Islamic Studies Program (2011-14) and International Institute (2014-20). Her past work has contributed broadly to the study of institutional origin, change, and impact with an empirical focus on the former Soviet Union, primarily the five Central Asia states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Currently, she is engaged in two major research projects. One explores the influence of religion on political attitudes and behavior in Muslim majority states with an emphasis on the relationship between religious regulation, religiosity, and political mobilization. The other focuses on the identifying the factors that affect the extent to which people are complying with social distancing policies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that these policies are having on individuals and communities around the world.

Nurseit Niyazbekov is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at KIMEP University, Kazakhstan. He holds a PhD in politics and MSc in sociology from the University of Oxford. He has taught at other universities in Kazakhstan and has conducted research at international and non-governmental organizations. He often consults international think tanks and researchers on issues related to political risks, democratization, social welfare, and protests in Kazakhstan. His research interests revolve around post-communist transitions, Central Asian politics, social movements, social capital, and protest mobilization.

Edward Schatz is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He recently published Slow Anti-Americanism: Social Movements and Symbolic Politics in Central Asia with Stanford University Press. His previous books include Paradox of Power: The Logics of State Weakness in Eurasia (2017) and Political Ethnography: What Immersion Contributes to the Study of Power (2009). His research interests include social mobilization, identity politics, qualitative methods, the former USSR, and Central Asia.

Regina Smyth is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. Her primary research interest is in the dynamics of state-society relations in transitional and electoral authoritarian regimes. She has also written extensively on political development in the Russian Federation, including her recent book Elections, Protest, and Authoritarian Regime Stability: Russia 2008–2020 (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Her research, largely based on original data collection and analysis, has been funded by the National Science Foundation, International Research and Exchanges Board, US - Russia Foundation, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the National Security Education Program, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Russian and East European Center, Ostrom Workshop, Department of Political Science, and College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University.

Register for the webinar at

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: International, Politics, Public Policy
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, International Institute, Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia

International Institute Programming

The International Institute’s centers sponsor numerous conferences, lectures, exhibits, and cultural performances throughout the year. These events are designed to educate the university community and the public about global issues and inspire discussion and dialogue. 

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