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 In Focus

The Stockholm-Tsukuba International Program for Central Asian Studies

Published 2001-01-17

In April 2007, Associate Professor Birgit Schlyter, Department of South and Central Asian Studies at Stockholm University received a STINT Institutional Grant for long-term cooperation with Associate Professor Timur Dadabaev of the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba in Japan.

The intention is to promote graduate programmes and the training of future scholars in the young and still developing discipline of Central Asian Studies.

The Central Asian region, as delimited in present-day international research, encompasses a territory almost as large as Europe. The defining parameters are a combination of current political stipulations and cultural historical features. All of the former Soviet Central Asian republics and Kazakhstan are included. The southern and eastern fringes do not coincide with state borders but are determined by cultural historical cohesion, which makes the Central Asian region fade into South Asia as well as East Asia.

Given the research agenda supporting the Stockholm-Tsukuba Program for Central Asian Studies, the combination of cultural-historical and socio-political premises for the analysis of present-day processes in and around the Central Asian region is considered to be an especially fertile method of scientific research and the east-west perspective enabled through participating institutions a sine qua non for a profound understanding of societies and their consolidation as sovereign political units in the post-Soviet era. Research and training will be conducted not at the state level, but at the regional and local-community level. The role of language will be given special prominence.

Institutions participating in this programme will mutually benefit from, on the one hand, the development and enhancement of curricula for graduate studies and, on the other, joint field work in Central Asia involving not only the Stockholm and Tsukuba institutions but also partner institutions in the region. Such a procedure will enable contrastive analysis of scientific paradigms from different environments in the international academic community.

The two parties of the Stockholm-Tsukuba Program for Central Asian graduate and post-graduate studies offer together a complementary representation of both Humanities and Social Sciences, with research projects such as cultural history and sociolinguistics (Stockholm), political science and international relations (Tsukuba). In December, 2007, an international conference on Central Asian History, Politics and Society was held at the University of Tsukuba under collaboration between the two member institutions of the Stockholm-Tsukuba Program and the universities of Tokyo and Cambridge, UK. Among the conference programs planned for the year 2008 are a workshop in Mysore, India, on Competing Language Loyalties in South and Central Asia: Theories versus Field Studies in cooperation with the Nordic Centre in India and the Central Institute of Languages, Mysore, as well as a workshop in Stockholm on Readings in the History of Central Asia in cooperation with the University of Tokyo.

Joint courses will be carried out on the cultural historical relation between Central Asia and the rest of Eurasia, language development and present-day language policies in Central Asia, specific languages (Russian, Uzbek, etc.,) as well as state and society, local communities and the formation of regionalism in Central Asia. One and same course program (e.g. “Central Asia – A Borderland on Europe”) is introduced at both universities. Joint courses will be conducted for the main part as intensive courses within the framework of “summer” and “winter” schools already operating at the two partner institutions, respectively.

A website was opened in November 2007.

Birgit Schlyter
Department of South and Central Asian Studies
Stockholm University

Senast uppdaterad: 08-02-21 11:25

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