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Joint ESCAS-CESS Conference at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA)

29 June - 2 July 2017
European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) and the
Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS)


The European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) and the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) will hold the Joint ESCAS-CESS Conference at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, June 29-July 2, 2017.  This is the 15th Biennial Conference of ESCAS, and the Sixth Regional Conference of CESS. The conference will be hosted by AUCA’s Central Asian Studies Institute (CASI)

There was a tremendous response to the Call for Papers — the largest number ever received for an ESCAS Conference or a CESS Regional Conference. We expect that the total number at the conference will be about 500, making this one of the largest CESS conferences on record and the largest-ever ESCAS conference and largest international conference on Central Asian/Eurasian studies to be held within the region.  

We expect to have about 110 panels in twelve sessions extending from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, with over 450 scholars on the program altogether.

The Final Program is available here.

The conference will feature two keynote speeches:

Gulnara Aitpaeva (Director, Aigine Cultural Research Center, Bishkek) will speak on “Sacred Geography and Power Relations in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan”.

Paolo Sartori (Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna) will speak on “The Secular that Never Was: Untangling the Meaning of Islam in Soviet Central Asia”.

In addition, there will be a catered reception and a rich cultural program.  

Sponsoring Associations: CESS and ESCAS

The European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) began in 1985 with a small conference at Utrecht University and has continued since with biennial conferences in a dozen European cities and more recently, in Astana, Kazakhstan, as well. Its focus is on building scholarly links and support between Europe and Central Asia. For more information, see:

The Central Eurasian Studies Society was founded in North America in 2000 with the aim of promoting scholarship on the Central Eurasian region and fostering communication among scholars of the region throughout the world. CESS holds an annual conference hosted each year by a North American university, and since 2008, has held a biennial conference in countries of Central Eurasia. For more information, see:


The deadline for proposals has passed and we can no longer accept submissions.  Those wishing to attend the conference without presenting a paper must register.  

Registration is now open.  Registration is required for all who attend.  We welcome participants who are not on the program (i.e., who were not among those who submitted a successful proposal and who simply want to attend and join the discussions), but we emphasize that advance registration is strongly recommended, because we may reach the maximum number of attendees and it may not be possible to register on the days of the conference.

Registration Details: See the Schedule of Conference Fees, together with other information including the deadline for payment at the reduced rate and the discounted rates for CESS and ESCAS members.  To Register, complete the Registration Form linked here.  To access this form, you will need to be logged in to the CESS website.  If you have not established a CESS Username and Password, you will be prompted to do so when accessing the form. 

Conference Committee

You may contact the Joint Conference Committee at (see the bottom of this document for full contact information).

The members of the committee are as follows:

John Schoeberlein (CESS Past President; ESCAS President; Nazarbayev Univ., Kazakhstan), Chair of the joint program committee

CASI/AUCA (Bishkek)
Svetlana Jacquesson (Director of CASI/AUCA; ESCAS Board member)
Aida Konokbaeva (CASI/AUCA)
Christopher Baker (CASI/AUCA)
Emil Juraev (AUCA)
Emil Nasritdinov (AUCA)
Mohira Suyarkulova (CASI/AUCA)

Timothy Blauvelt (CESS Conference Committee Chair; Ilia University, Georgia)
Leila Almazova (CESS Board member; Kazan Federal Univ., Russian Federation)
Aksana Ismailbekova (CESS Board member; Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany)
Marianne Kamp (CESS;
Marlene Laruelle (CESS Board member; George Washington Univ., USA)
Scott Levi (CESS; Ohio State University, USA)
Jennifer Murtazashvili (CESS Board member; Univ. of Pittsburgh, USA)
David Pierce (CESS; Independent Scholar, USA)

Alexander Morrison (ESCAS; Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)
Beatrice Penati (ESCAS Vice-President; Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)
Catherine Poujol (ESCAS; French Institute for Central Asian Studies, Bishkek)
Dina Sharipova (ESCAS Secretary; KIMEP University, Kazakhstan)
Cholpon Turdalieva (ESCAS; American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyz Republic)

Contact Information

Weblinks for the conference:

ESCAS Conference page:
CESS Regional Conference page:
CESS Conference Guidelines:

For inquiries regarding the program and registration, contact the Program Committee at:



For inquiries regarding Bishkek/AUCA and logistics for participation, contact the Central Asian Studies Institute at AUCA:



April 26, 2017
Formal invitation letters for funding or visa applications
Conference participants who need formal invitations for funding or visa applications should write to CASI at