After seven years of dedicated service as Chair of the CEUS Department, Professor Jamsheed Choksy stepped down, and the faculty elected Associate Professor Őner Őzçelik as the new department Chair. The CEUS faculty recognizes and appreciates Jamsheed’s many accomplishments as Chair, such as securing tenure-line positions in contemporary Central Asia and in Tibetan studies, bringing in funding and an endowment from the Tang Foundation, overseeing an external review, and supporting numerous faculty members through tenure and/or promotion: Őner Őzçelik (Associate Professor), Kate Graber (Associate Professor), Sibel Crum (Senior Lecturer), Elisa Räsänen (Senior Lecturer), Gulnisa Nazarova (Teaching Professor).
Greetings from the new chair!
I am honored to have the opportunity to greet you as the new Chair of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS), a world leading department with a diverse array of faculty and students who are leaders in academic expertise on the vast heartland of Europe and Asia, extending from Northern Europe to East Asia and from the Baltic Sea and Siberia to the Persian Gulf and the Himalayas, covering a vast array of peoples, cultures and languages from diverse language families.
Although I’ve been in this position for just a few months, I’ve been in CEUS for over 10 years now, and am proud to call it home. The time that I have spent here has provided me with much collegiality and knowledge in different world areas, cultures and languages throughout the years, and I cannot think of a better home to serve. This diversity has been one reason why I chose to come to CEUS in the first place more than a decade ago and has informed much of my research, as well as my approach to administration and even life in general. There is no doubt that this coming year will continue to be an opportunity to further get to know you, develop new skills and work together in challenging times towards creating an even stronger CEUS. I have utmost confidence that our department will continue its robust academic expertise in this important – yet often overlooked – world region, and that we will share this expertise with other universities and countries by publishing ground-breaking research that transcends disciplines and areas, as well as by graduating students who will transcend us. I look forward to continuing my academic, professional and personal growth with all of you and directly contributing to the growth of CEUS. —Őner Őzçelik
Various CEUS faculty members and students have responded to the momentous events of this summer, the US’s rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s seizure of power. In early September, Jamsheed Choksy organized a panel discussion, “Ramifications of the Taliban Re-Takeover of Afghanistan” with CEUS faculty members Nazif Shahrani, Marianne Kamp, Feisal Istrabadi, and Kemal Silay taking part, as well as colleagues from other IU departments. Not surprisingly, Nazif Shahrani has been in demand as a speaker, as for example in an extensive radio interview in August, and with recent events such as talks at the University of Illinois, and at the University of Nebraska.
CelCAR, the Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region, under the leadership of director Gulnisa Nazarova, reached out to connect speakers of Dari and Pashto with Afghans who were evacuated in the days following the fall of Kabul, and who came to Camp Atterbury, which is about an hour’s drive east from Bloomington; here is a link to HLS Dean Lee Feinstein’s op-ed piece on that effort. A number of CEUS students who have taken or are taking Shahyar Daneshgar‘s Persian language classes have been working with Afgan guests at Camp Atterbury. These include Audrey Killian and Jack Stewart. CEUS doctoral candidate Jenny Dubeansky spearheaded efforts to gather donations of clothing and other necessary goods for Afghans at Camp Atterbury, working with Team Rubicon, setting up an Amazon donation site, and expanding awareness of the organization that is spearheading Indiana’s resettlement efforts, Exodus Refugee. Shahyar Daneshgar notes that, having taught Persian to students in a program that receives considerable funding from taxpayer dollars, it is gratifying to see students put their language knowledge into action in such an important and meaningful way.
The CEUS faculty increased in Fall 2021. Sam Bass was appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor of Mongol Studies. Eveline Washul joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Tibetan Studies. Michael Brose was appointed Professor of Practice, and Feisal Istrabadi was named the Michael and Laurie Burns McRobbie Professor in Global Strategic Studies. Árpád Hornyák is visiting on a Hungarian Fulbright, and Moldir Orozbayeva and Aiperi Aitbaeva are visiting as Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
One of Eveline Washul’s recent publications is “Introduction” to the April 2021 issue of Waxing Moon: a journal of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies. She presented “Indigeneity in Tibetan Contexts” for the East Asian Studies Center colloquium.
Kate Graber‘s book, Mixed Messages: Mediating Native Belonging in Asian Russia (Cornell 2020) earned honorable mention for the Davis Center Book Prize, presented at the ASEEES convention.
Chris Beckwith‘s co-written chapter on the Sythian Empire came out this year, though with a 2020 date. Timothy Taylor, Christine M. Havlicek, and C.I. Beckwith, “The Scythian Empire: Reassessing Steppe Power from Western and Eastern Perspectives”. In: St John Simpson, ed. Masters of the Steppe. Oxford: Archaeopress 2020, pp. 616-626. He gave a virtual talk, “Ancient Chinese capital city names and the change from Old Chinese to Middle Chinese,” Venue: The Research Center for Chinese Cultural Subjectivity, National Chengchi University, Taipei,Taiwan,
Gardner Bovingdon participated in an online symposium, “Continuing Threats to Uyghur Culture, Language and Identity,” presenting a talk, “Interpreting the Camps as Policy.” IU CEUS alum Tim Gross was also a presenter.
György Kara published a new interpretation of the 17th-century Mongol Prince Sagang’s long poem (70 quatrains) with ample commentary in Acta Orientalia Hung, 2021, (2) pp. 264-324.
Michael Brose was the main organizer and Program Committee Chair of the recent Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs annual conference that happened 29-31 October online. Because of the online venue for this year’s conference 166 people from seven countries and various locations in the US were able to join the conference.
Linguistics publications continue as Őner Őzçelik’s focus, this time published in a psychology journal: “L2 Acquisition of a complex stress pattern: UG-constrained learning paths in Khalkha Mongolian,” Frontiers in Psychology, August 2021.
Collaborations among language faculty have led to recent presentations by Piibi-Kai Kivik, Elisa Räsänen, and Sibel Crum. Kivik and Räsänen gave a talk entitled “Past learning in the spotlight: shared histories in classroom talk,” for the virtual 19th AILA World Congress “The dynamics of language, communication and culture in a changing world”, Groningen, the Netherlands. Crum and Kivik presented “Motivational Factors Affecting More and Less Commonly Taught Language Students,” for a workshop at the 53rd conference of Indiana Foreign Language Teacher Association, a professional organization of K-16 foreign language instructors.
Marianne Kamp‘s chapter on collectivization, “Collectivisation, Sedendarisation, and the Famine in Central Asia,” co-authored with Niccolò Pianciola, came out in the newly published Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Central Asia, (Routledge 2021) edited by Rico Isaacs and Erica Marat. Kamp gave a keynote talk, “Six Women from Xorazm: Memory, Collectivization, and Gender” for an October virtual conference called Turning Muslims into Comrades: Gendered Transformations of Muslim Lives in Socialist and Post-Socialist Contexts, hosted by Charles University in Prague.
Uranchimeg Tsultem is an Adjunct member of CEUS’s faculty, and an assistant professor at IUPUI. One of her recent publications is “Tradition in Baasanjav’s Art: Rethinking Buddhist Iconographies in Contemporary Mongolia” in Acta Mongolica: Special Issue: Mobility and Immobility in Mongolian Socities. http://ims.num.edu.mn/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/ACTA-Mongolica-Vol-19.pdf She was an invited presenter and discussant at a November workshop hosted by the University of Bern, on The Cult of Protector Deities at the Crossroads of Religion and Politics in Mongolia Today. Tsultem and IU lecturer Tserenchunt Legden were both involved in the Mongolian Society’s annual meeting, which took place in Indianapolis this fall.
László Borhi draws attention to the Tetmajer Translation Project that makes the work of Hungarian scholars available in English. There is a more thorough explanation of this endowed publication project in the Hungarian Studies Association newsletter
Ron Sela contributed a chapter to a festschrift honoring CEUS Professor Emeritus Devin DeWeese. The festschrift is titled From the Khan’s Oven: Studies on the History of Central Asian Religions in Honor of Devin DeWeese, published by Brill. The volume includes contributions by many CEUS alumni and faculty, and is edited by Allen J. Frank (PhD CEUS, 1994), Jeff Eden (MA CEUS, 2012), and Eren Tasar. Among the contributors are the three editors, Nick Walmsley (PhD CEUS, 2016); Daniel Beben (PhD CEUS/History, 2015), and noted scholars Stéphane A. Dudoignon, Jamal J. Elias, Peter B. Golden, Jo-Ann Gross, Michael Kemper, Jürgen Paul, and Paolo Sartori.
Jamsheed Chosky and Julian Kreidl’s article, Zoroastrian Deities in Bactria” came out in the Journal of Himalayan and Central Asian Studies, 25: 20-53.. Jamsheed and Carol Choksy contributed to Foreign Affairs, with an article entitled “Iran Needs the Nuclear Deal to Keep Russia and China at Bay.”
Gulnisa Nazarova and co-author Zulfiya Imyarova saw the publication of their work as “The repatriation policy of the USSR and the peculiarities of Uyghurs’ migration from the PRC in the 1950s,” Journal of Oriental Studies, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Volume 98, No 3, 2021
CEUS Student and Alumni news
New CEUS graduates include Zeynep Elbasan-Bozdogan, who defended her PhD dissertation, “The discursive transformation of a soul in exile: the unconventional nature of Cem Sultan’s poetry.” Also, Julian Kreidl defended his dissertation, “A Historical Grammar of Pashto.” Julian is currently working for CelCAR. Earlier in 2021, Hosung Shim defended his dissertation, “The State Formation of the Zungar Principality: a Political History of the Last Centralized State of the Eurasian Steppe.” Brian Cwiek defended his dissertation, “Sowing the Seeds of Change: State-building and Cotton Agriculture in Twentieth-Century Xinjiang.” Kurban Niyaz completed his doctoral dissertation, The Hidāyatnāma as the Shadow of the Āfāqiyya Path in East Turkistan (1653-1694). Dallin Day completed his MA thesis, “The role and function of Hungarian verbal prefixes,” supervised by Őner Őzçelik.
Current CEUS graduate students Mike Krautkraemer, Matt Hulstine, and Anton Ermakov presented papers at the virtual Central Eurasian Studies Society annual conference, on a panel, “Central Asian Voices in History: Letters, Divination Texts, and Boundaries of Belonging,” where Marianne Kamp was the organizer and discussant. Sadly, the internet let Dinara Abakirova down, making her planned paper presentation impossible.
The CEUS student organization, ACES, has new leadership as of September. President Ben Storsved, Vice Presidents: Daniil Kabotyanski and Nodira Ibragimova, Treasurers: Anton Ermakov and Stu McLaughlin, Secretary: Eduardo Acarón-Padilla, Faculty Representative: Daniil Kabotyanski. The ACES conference will take place, live and in person–as well as online, in February 2022!
Two CEUS MA students, Sam Robertson and Katharine Khamhaengwong, won national fellowships for international research. Khamhaengwong’s Fulbright fellowship is supporting her research about Muslim communities in the Republic of Georgia, while Sam Robertson (joint CEUS MA with Public Administration) has a Fulbright that supports his teaching at the State Law University in Tashkent, while he also does thesis research.
Emily Stranger, currently working on her dissertation, is working as the Regional Expertise and Culture (REC) Instructor for 1st Special Forces Command, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Uzbek lecturer Malik Hodjaev is excited about his advanced students’ project-based learning, where they make use of materials in Uzbek as the basis for conference papers and dissertations. Matt Hulstine used Uzbek texts in his research on the Kokand Khanate, Jack Szczuka for his paper and musical composition on Alpomysh, and a University of Michigan grad student delved into the history of museums in Russian Turkestan. In addition, Hodjaev and Kamp are hoping that the first iteration of their CEUS study abroad class will take place in May (and won’t get derailed by Covid, as happened in 2020): a ten-day trip to Uzbekistan, with students studying language and history at Samarkand Institute of Foreign Languages, and travelling to Bukhara and Tashkent.
Brian Cweik has a position as Program Officer for the Africa and International regions, associated with the National Resource Center and FLAS portion of Title VI programs that are managed by the US Department of Education’s International and Foreign Language Education office. He is putting to use this area of expertise, earned through a few years of working with Kasia Rydel-Johnston in IAUNRC. He writes, “My team is responsible for conducting the NRC and FLAS grant competitions, providing technical assistance to grantees, and ensuring compliance with all regulations related to these programs.”
CEUS alum Filiz Cicek, PhD, published a book chapter, “Engendering Orientalism: Fatih Akin’s Head-On and The Edge of Heaven” in Handbook of Research on Contemporary Approaches to Orientalism in Media and Beyond (2 Volumes), edited by Işıl Tombul and Gülşah Sarı, IGI Global.
CEUS alum Dr. YU Wonsoo, Professor of the Korean National University in Seoul, was awarded with the Pole Star Order of Mongolia for his merits in Mongol studies. He published his Korean translations of the Secret History of the Mongols, of the Geser Saga, and of Lodoidamba’s novel The Limpid Tamir River, books on Xinjiang Daur and the Kamnigan language of North Mongolia.
Every department at any university always tries to raise funds, and CEUS is no exception. We welcome your end-of-year donations! Please consider making a donation of any size to CEUS. You can do so through the IU Foundation portal for CEUS: Make a Gift (myiu.org)
Include a message that can direct your donation to one of the Department priorities, such as supporting undergraduate scholarships and study abroad, or graduate scholarships and research funds, or for a specific area, such as the Elliott Sperling memorial fund for Tibetan Studies.
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Editor: Marianne Kamp, Associate Professor, CEUS