During the Spring 2022 semester, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center hosted a series of lectures, book talks, student presentations, and career talks which were attended by over 250 people total.
In late February and early March 2022, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center partnered with the East Asian Studies Center and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures for a short book club series on In the Camps: China’s High-Tech Penal Colony by Darren Byler. Byler is a sociocultural anthropologist in the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University, known for his work on revealing the role of technology and social engineering in the oppression of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, PRC. On February 25, Central Eurasian Studies faculty members Sam Bass and Gardner Bovingdon led a discussion section which invited readers to explore the stories and themes from the first half of the book. Then, on March 4, the IAUNRC hosted author Darren Byler for a question-and-answer session with readers.
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center also hosted Aubrey Menard for a talk on her book Young Mongols: Forging Democracy in the Wild Wild East. Aubrey Menard is a political consultant and expert on democracy, political transitions, and elections who has worked all over the world, including Nicaragua and Mongolia. Young Mongols centers youth in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, as they grapple with the democratic system to try and improve their nation. On April 7, readers discussed the book with Central Eurasian Studies faculty members, and then were joined by author Aubrey Menard for a question-and-answer session about the book on April 14.
In the early weeks of the Spring 2022 semester, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center hosted David Tyson for a short series of talks. Tyson is an alumnus of the Central Eurasian Studies Department as well as an Uzbek linguist and retired CIA Case Officer. On January 18, he gave a talk about ways in which students can utilize knowledge of Central Eurasian languages and cultures for careers in the CIA. Then, on January 18, Tyson joined us for a talk on the book First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 by Toby Harnden. First Casualty depicts the story of Tyson’s 2001 deployment in Afghanistan as a member of Team Alpha.
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center welcomed back Central Eurasian Studies alumnus Eric Schluessel for a weekend of lectures and source reading workshops in early April. On Friday, April 8, Schluessel delivered a lecture based on work from his recent book, Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia. Land of Strangers is the recipient of the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association, and it descries efforts of Qing administrators to assimilate Muslim populations in Xinjiang into the empire. On Saturday, April 9, and Sunday, April 10, Schluessel led IU students and faculty in source readings from Chaghatay Turkic manuscripts and Qing-era Chinese manuscripts, respectively.
In addition to these book talks, several scholars joined the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center to give lectures on their research. On March 29 and 31, Zeev Levin, Head of the Bukharan and Central Asian Jews research center, Yad Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, presented a short series of lectures on the lives of Central Asian Jews. The first lecture discussed their experiences under Russian colonization and the early years of modernization, and the second investigated societal transformations that occurred in the early decades of the Soviet period. The IAUNRC also hosted Árpád Hornyák, the Visiting Hungarian Fulbright Professor in the Central Eurasian Studies Department, for a lecture on his ongoing research entitled “Clashes and Encounters: Hungarian-Yugoslav relations in regional context in the age of the two World Wars.”
Along with these faculty lectures, students from the Central Eurasian Studies Department were also given the opportunity to present their research in the Association of Central Eurasian Students (ACES) Brown Bag Series. In the Spring 2022 semester, PhD candidate (who has since graduated!) Jessica Storey-Nagy and PhD student Stu McLaughlin both presented their research to gatherings of students and faculty at IU. Jessica’s talk discussed her ethnographic research in Hungary which investigated the disconnect between voting habits and people’s voiced emotions towards politics and politicians. Stu presented his research which compared multilingual education and policies in contemporary Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Thank you to all of our wonderful presenters from this past year!