The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University, Bloomington was very glad to join the entire university community in returning to mainly in-person teaching and a wide range of other face-to-face activities during the Fall 2021 semester. Lectures, symposia, films, meetings, and other events have taken place in a flexible format that became known as “hybrid” and typically included a virtual dimension, making the university’s activities (and ours, of course) more accessible to our local community and far beyond as well.
The 2021-22 academic year is the final one in the current four-year, federally funded cycle for Title VI National Resource Centers nationwide, and IAUNRC is busily preparing its application for a renewal of our grant, both as an NRC as well as a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS)-granting center. In this process we are looking forward to important cooperation and collaboration with several of the seven other NRCs that IUB hosts as well as with numerous other academic institutions here in Bloomington, e.g., schools, departments, museums, and centers who find our Center’s focus on the Inner Asian and Uralic regions and an area studies approach attractive.
The events IAUNRC has sponsored or co-sponsored this fall focused both on an analysis of current developments in our regions as well as offering a longer term perspective. The United States withdrawal from Afghanistan helped spur three panel discussions: (1) “Ramifications of the Taliban’s Re-Takeover of Afghanistan: Regional Perspectives,” which included seven experts from IUB (Jamsheed Choksy, Šumit Ganguly, Feisal Istrabadi, Marianne Kamp, Nazif Shahrani, Kemal Silay, and Dina Spechler; (2) “Twilight in Afghanistan: Two Perspectives” with Ryan Brasher (Simpson University) and Dipali Mukhopadhyayi (University of Minnesota); and (3) “The Human Cost of War: Understanding the Failures in Afghanistan,” with Andrew Bell, Jana Bucher, Elisheva Cohen, and Nazif Shahrani. The ongoing human crisis in Xinjiang was the timely topic of a symposium, “Continuing Threats to Uyghur Culture, Language, and Identity,” and featured five local and external specialists: Gardner Bovingdon, Tim Grose, Abdulhakim Idris, Bahram Sintash, and Adrian Zenz. A longer range perspective was provided by the following speakers: (1) Orhon Myadar (University of Arizona), “Mobility and Displacement: Nomadism, Identity and Postcolonial Narratives in Mongolia”; (2) Ravshan Shamsiditov (Andijan State University, Uzbekistan), “Independent Uzbekistan at 30: An Insider Perspective”; (3) Balázs Tárnok (University of Notre Dame), “Nation-Building and History: Application of the Benes Decrees and Principle of Collective Guilt in the 21st Century”; and (4) Johanna Mellis (Ursinus College), “Blood in the Water at 65: Cold War and Contemporary Perspectives,” which analyzed the impact of the violent Hungarian-Soviet water polo match in the 1956 Olympics and its continuing reflection in Hungarian public opinion. New technology allowed us to make these highly useful presentations available to a wider audience.