The Spring 2019 semester has been an eventful time in the life of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington. Thanks to the diligent work of our staff and partners, we have been realizing the goals set forth in our project proposal.
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The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University recently celebrated the opening of an exhibition of photographs by Durdy Bayramov, a famous twentieth-century artist from Turkmenistan, at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. This exhibition offers a rare glimpse into daily life among ordinary people in Central Asia prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The exhibition’s official opening also served as an opportunity to welcome Keya Bayramova, the artist’s daughter and Director of the Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation, and His Excellency Meret B. Orazov, the ambassador of Turkmenistan to the United States, to campus. The exhibition and surrounding events highlight the Center’s work with campus partners to sponsor cultural programming and other events that deepen the understanding of Central Asia among members of the IU community in support of the Hamilton Lugar School’s mission of promoting engagement with global issues.
Azerbaijan, one of the six Muslim and five Turkic-speaking sovereign republics of the Soviet Union, gained independence in 1991. As for all Soviet republics, to one or another degree, independence was partly (and implicitly) initiated by processes that were already underway in late 1980’s, especially through the implementation of the policies of glasnost and perestroika.A close review of nearly three decades of Azerbaijan’s post-independence development shows three main strategies of identity reconstruction: policy formulation and legislation, construction of symbolic and discursive resources, and social engagement. These strategies, in turn, have produced three different modes of expressing identity within society, which I regard, respectively, as adaptive, perceptive, and agentive. The first two strategies were more characteristic of the first two decades after independence, while the third one gained more salience during the third decade of independence. I therefore consider the identity construction strategies of the third decade separately from the policies of 1991-2010.
Bringing Central Eurasian languages and cultures into K-12 classrooms is a critical component of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center’s (IAUNRC) mission. The Center supports a variety of programs for students and teachers each year, generally tailored to the individual needs of each partner and available at no charge. Over the course of the 2018-19 academic year, the Center’s programs have reached more than 1,000 students and numerous educators in Bloomington and beyond.
The Hungarian Cultural Association (HCA) in collaboration with the Romanian Studies Organization (RSO) hosted the “Romanian Studies and Hungarian Studies Junior Scholar Conference” at Indiana University Bloomington on March 22 – 23, 2019. The conference featured twelve presenters across two days and five panels, which included presentations from four IU students. The presenters addressed diverse topics related to both Hungarian and Romanian studies, including nationalism and nation building, gender, material culture, twentieth-century Hungary, and minority communities in Romania.
The Association of Central Eurasian Students (ACES) at Indiana University hosted the 25th Annual International ACES Conference, “Authority and Legitimacy in Central Eurasia,” on Saturday, February 23, 2019, at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. 38 panelists from 14 universities representing seven countries joined IU students and faculty for a day of engaging scholarship about Central Eurasia. Panelists presented from a variety of disciplinary perspectives on a diverse array of topics, including natural resource use, Islam, national identity, migration, and the environment in Central Eurasia.
Elliot Sperling, who retired an Associate Professor from the Department of Central Eurasian Studies in December 2015, passed away more than two years ago, but his legacy continues to inspire the field of Tibetan Studies at Indiana University and around the world. Several of Sperling’s teachers, students, and colleagues held a symposium on Tibetan history and historiography in his honor with support from the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center. Attendees at the symposium learned that Sperling’s influence at IU will continue through a generous donation of books and a new scholarship that will bear his name.
The Global Literacy Invitations Project is designed for elementary teachers and held on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. In a world full of both hopeful and tragic events, the duty of teachers in a global community to engage in understanding and empathizing globally. Global Literacy Invitations is an approach that integrates literacy, social studies and the new Global Literacy Standards for Indiana. Global Literacy invitations have long been used in classrooms here at Indiana University, and they have been successful at getting preservice teachers to think about how they can internationalize the elementary curriculum in meaningful ways.
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center recently collaborated with Central Middle School in Columbus, Indiana to bring the school’s entire seventh grade class to the Indiana University, Bloomington campus for a morning of Mongol Invasion-themed immersive educational experience that allowed students and faculty to explore important elements of Central Eurasian culture and history. The students are designing games based on the history of the Mongol conquests and the geography of the Eurasian landscapes. When asked by one of the teachers whether we could do anything to help the students with their task, the Center’s staff gladly worked with the teacher to design an experience to meet the students’ learning needs.
Dr. Toivo U. Raun, Professor in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University is the nner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center's new Director.
Indiana University hosted an seminar addressing Finnish literary translation for students and faculty in North America with the support of The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI), the Finnish Literature Exchange (FILI), and the Department of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS).
This semester the Baltic and Finnish Studies Association has been planning some exciting events to celebrate and promote awareness of this region. We reach out not only to students but also to faculty and the local community to celebrate Baltic and Finnish culture with us.
Each year many students from Indiana University who are engaged in some aspect of Central Eurasian Studies travel abroad or seek out additional training opportunities during summer. This commitment to research and language training highlights the strength of Central Eurasian Studies at IU.
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University recently welcomed Aynur to Bloomington, where she performed at the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival on September 28 and 29. Aynur’s performances showcased the emotional depth of the Kurdish folk music tradition as interpreted in an engaging contemporary style. Her performances in Bloomington are part of an active touring schedule that since the beginning of the year has included appearances across the United States as well as in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Morocco, Norway, and Singapore. The Center’s sponsorship of Aynur’s performance is the latest example of the Center’s long-term cooperation with the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation to bring Inner Asian and Uralic cultural programming to south-central Indiana.
The microfilming of the extensive collection of Central Asian newspapers and periodicals amassed by Professor Emeritus William Fierman over many years and from across the Central Asian region is being supported by a generous grant from the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center. Including titles from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and dated mainly from the early 1980s to the present, the collection is significant both in its scope and content, much of which is missing from library catalogues and has not been microfilmed elsewhere.
As a Central Eurasianist, one substantial challenge that I face in the classroom is sharing my passion for the societies and cultures of Central Asia with my students in relatable ways. Since beginning my career at Indiana University East in fall 2014, I have come to rely on the support of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center to enrich my endeavors to bring Central Asia into my classroom and to my campus.
William Fierman, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, was recently presented with the Edward Allworth Lifetime Service to the Profession Award which recognizes extraordinary lifetime achievement in the field of Central Eurasian Studies. Professor Fierman, former Director of the IAUNRC and longtime observer of political developments in the Central Asian region, spoke to IAUNRC about the ongoing project to microfilm his extensive collection of Kazakh and Uzbek newspapers.
Gulnisa Nazarova's ongoing research explores the experiences of some of the thousands of Uyghurs who emigrated from Xinjiang in the People’s Republic of China to Soviet Central Asia in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the exact number of migrants is unknown, some estimates place the total number of migrants as high as 200,000 people.
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University is proud to announce the launch of the Area Studies Advancement Project. Over the next four years, the Center will build upon existing support for course development at IU and at partner institutions and tap into Indiana University's strengths in area studies to promote excellence in the theory and practice of teaching and researching in an area studies context.
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University is proud to announce that it has received funding through the U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center and FLAS fellowship competition. This continued support will ensure the Center's ongoing operation over the next four years.