The Central Eurasia Initiative

As a collaborative effort of the Center for Russian and East European Studies (REES) and the Asian Studies Center (ASC), the Central Eurasia Initiative furthers Pitt’s significant academic programming focused on this vast and diverse region that connects East Europe to West Asia through the Middle East and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

With an emphasis on trans-regional linkages, the Centers’ Eurasian focus supports Pitt faculty and student engagement with a region that has been both a heartland and a frontier for worldwide processes. In the past, Silk Road cities were simultaneously nodes for epidemics and human mobility, for geopolitical rivalries and peaceful exchange, whether commercial, cultural or technological. Today, rapidly developing countries in the region are sites for competing plans of integration at a time when China, India, Russia, the EU, and the United States vie over large-scale infrastructure projects to link the region’s vast resources to trans-regional supply chains. Central Eurasia is also critical for making sense of global issues in migration, security and human rights, while it continues to make visible the diversity of Muslim communities. As such, Pitt’s increased emphasis on Central Eurasia will be equally relevant to faculty and students in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the Swanson School of Engineering, the Katz School of Business, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Law, the University Center for International Studies, and other academic units.  

CESS Annual Conference, October 25-28, 2018
The University of Pittsburgh will host the 2018 Annual Conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. The approach to Central Eurasia at Pitt is truly Eurasian. Research by Pitt scholars spans the entire region, from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia to Iran, Afghanistan, Siberia, Mongolia, Inner Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Region, and Eastern and Central Europe.

Faculty

Courses, Credentials, and Grants
Pitt’s Center for Russian and East European Studies and the Asian Studies Center have been awarded a Humanities Connections grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop interdisciplinary undergraduate courses and linked student engagement activities on the theme of Water in Central Asia: Tributaries of Change. These courses will strengthen interdisciplinary connections among Pitt faculty and students across the humanities, social sciences, and pre-professional programs in business and engineering, while augmenting Pitt’s existing course offerings and credentials related to this region.

Central Eurasian Studies Reading Group 
This interdisciplinary reading group is open to all faculty and students interested in Central Eurasia, providing them with a forum for sharing knowledge and experiences. The group comes together monthly to discuss scholarly books, articles, and other media on diverse topics selected to meet participants’ needs, as well as works in progress. Please contact crees@pitt.edu with any related questions, to request texts, or if you wish to be added to the reading group’s internal email list.

Library and Film Collections
In addition to a rapidly expanding collection of library materials related to Central Eurasia, including 230 recent acquisitions of Soviet-era, low-print run primary source editions and Uzbek historical documents, Pitt’s Russian and East European Film Collection is robust and boasts the largest collection of Turkmen films in the West alongside a number of animated, documentary, and feature films unavailable outside Russia and rare even in the countries of Central Eurasia.

University of Pittsburgh Press
Edited by Douglas Northrop, Central Eurasia in Context is one of the leading multi-disciplinary monograph series on this region in North America. It currently comprises eighteen monographs, three of which have won prestigious awards from the Central Eurasian Studies Society.

Sean's Russia Blog
Read Central Asia Podcasts and visit Sean's Russia Blog to find interviews on the Central Asian region with scholars, policy-makers, journalists, writers, and filmmakers.

Past Programs