August 29, 2014
The Central Asian Studies Institute (CASI) of the American University of Central Asia held its first history and literature workshop on the AUCA campus on August 29 - 31. The purpose of the workshop was less to develop a narrow, focused theme than to gather a core group of scholars committed to exploring the intersection of history and literature in the Central Asian past. It was CASI’s intent to make this workshop an annual event, providing a forum for an enduring and ongoing examination of the ways in which literature illuminates history and also of the varied ways in which histories and past contexts mark literatures, literary movements, and novels. CASI is particularly interested in literature that contests or deconstructs identities – tribal, religious, ethnic, or national – but the workshop included a range of papers marked by the diversity of their analytical approaches, regional foci, and the historical epochs they examine. The first two days of the conference was devoted to presentations and in-depth discussions of the participants’ essays. The last day was devoted to a broader dialogue and planning session on the organization of future workshops, the goal being to design topics that will help shape and bring into focus emergent themes in the study of history and literature in Central Asia, a broad field of inquiry whose contours are still largely undefined.