Category Archives: Environment

Shifting Seas: The Lived Landscapes of Aral by Grace H. Zhou, Stanford University

“We Are Not Mutants”

Stihia Festival promised to be the Burning Man of Central Asia. On September 14, hundreds of revelers gathered in Moynaq, a once bustling port at the edge of the brimming Aral Sea, but now a dusty town in the Karakalpak autonomous region of northwestern Uzbekistan. Festival goers arrived from cities across Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asia, Europe, and the US, hoping to rave to techno sets mixed by DJs from Tashkent, Moscow, Tbilisi, and Berlin. Media reports soon followed, describing the spectacle: the desolate landscape of a former sea-bed-turned-desert; electro-music as rain-song to call back the sea or, at least, to raise environmental awareness; the hundreds of curious locals who showed up to observe the festivities.[1]

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The Central Eurasianist Current of the 2018 Modern Rivers of Eurasia Symposium by Patryk Reid, University of Pittsburgh

A growing current within Central Eurasian Studies covers water—and for good reason. Scholarly analysis of human-water relationships in such areas as history, culture, and political economy can produce new understandings of the past and the present.  Since ancient times, communities of this region have survived by successfully locating and distributing aquatic resources. Today, this task involves higher stakes than ever: local governments’ continuous mismanagement of rivers over the last century caused the Aral Sea to shrink by 90 percent, along with other untold lesser-known harms; now, climate change and mining are doing away with the very glaciers sustaining Central Eurasia’s precious waterways.

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Gezi Protests as a model for Central Asia

When Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 revolution was credited with using social media as a way to communicate during protests, it was seen as the beginning of a shift in how political discourse in the country occurred. While the technology was used mostly to communicate rather than to organize and was limited to certain demographics, it still marked the potential for change. At the end of May, the full might of the internet’s ability to create networks, to organize individuals, and to raise up change from the grassroots level was brought to Turkestan.
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Cooperation, Speculation, Uncertainty: Forecasting Central Eurasia’s Water Future

Last September Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov drew international attention when he claimed that Tajikistan’s plans to build the world’s tallest (355m) “Rogun” hydroelectric dam could spark a regional water war.
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The Panarchy: Welcome

Welcome to this inaugural post of “The Panarchy,” a blog series that will explore research that examines the dynamic interaction of social and ecological systems in Central Eurasia. The blog series takes its name from conceptual developments in “resilience thinking,” a branch of scholarship concerned with the triggers and processes that compose growth, collapse, and transformation in interconnected economic, ecological, and social systems across scales.
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