As Central Eurasian researchers and scholars, we sometimes find ourselves working in a field over-determined by tired and limited tropes, particularly when news about the region makes its way to the mainstream press. As curator and online zine editor Ciarán Miqeladze wryly puts it, “Uzbekistan is no different in this matter. The Central Asian country is constantly treated to the same narrative of a post-Soviet, despot-controlled country, replete with bridenappings, magical men on horses, and Instagram-able mountain ranges housing radical Islamic terrorists.” However, at the avant garde culture site Post Pravda, where Ciaran and his colleagues are working to amplify local and alternative voices from the Caucasus to Eastern Europe and beyond, the goal is to provide different viewpoints and narratives. Continue reading Check out new blogs on Central Asia: Exploring ‘Scapes’ of Sight and Sound
CESMI is an innovative initiative that won the inaugural CESS Public Outreach Award. This occasional recognition is given for “for extraordinary work that contributes to advancing and making accessible knowledge of Central Eurasia to a broad audience“. Congratulations to the dedicated team maintaining this valuable network and resource! Continue reading The Central Eurasian Scholars and Media Initiative: Bridge-building between languages and professions
Last March the 3rd annual Regional Open Source Conference of Central Asia was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The choice of Dushanbe as the host city (Tajikistan has the second lowest internet penetration in the region after Turkmenistan) made an important statement about how the conference organizers viewed the use of open source technology in Central Asia. The topics ranged from development, persons with disabilities, e-government, and education but carried a central theme of “Open Data, Open Systems and Open Technology”. An underlying current within these topics is the idea that through open source technology we can bypass existing infrastructure to create projects which directly affect the people they are intended to benefit.
Continue reading Open Source Society and 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.
Continue reading Gezi Protests as a model for Central Asia
Classical music aficionados are fond of saying that in music, the silences have as much meaning as sound. And in the lead-up to Iran’s presidential election today, the relative silence of Persian rappers compared to their lyrical engagement in 2009 is deafening.[i] Why has this year’s presidential election failed to excite Iran’s hip-hop community to its previous level of politically-articulate production? Continue reading Rap, Resistance, and Iran’s 2013 Election