American University of Central Asia - AUCA - First conference speakers' bios


First Annual Conference




October 14-16, 2011




Abel Polese is Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute of Geography of the University of Edinburgh, visiting professor at Corvinus University of Budapest and Research Associate at MURCIR of Marmara University in Istanbul. Prior to this endorsement he was Marie Curie Fellow at the HAIT of Dresden Technical University. Among his most recent publications there is "The Colour Revolutions in the FormerSovietRepublics", published by Routledge, that he co-edited together with Donnacha O'Beachain.


Alessandro Frigerio is Chair of the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies at KIMEP, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan. He would define himself as a political theorist and has been researching on the concepts of emergency and exception, and on Responsibility to Protect.


Asel Doolotkeldieva is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter. She studies regime change in the post-communist context with the case study in Kyrgyzstan. She
specifically focuses on the nature of mobilizations throughout two “revolutions” of 2005 and 2010.


Bakhrom Mirkasimov, a PhD student, currently works on the "Life in Kyrgyzstan" project at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). He graduated from Vanderbilt University (USA) with a MA in Economics (with an emphasis on Economic Development) in 2010. His Master's thesis was entitled "Migration and Education in Uzbekistan". His areas of research are transition economics, (micro) development and growth, migration, remittances, and survey analysis.


Bhavna Dave (PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University, NY) is Senior Lecturer in Central Asian Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She also holds the position Chair of the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus at SOAS. She has published numerous works on minorities, ethnic and language policies and political transition in Central Asia. She is the author of the book Kazakhstan: Ethnicity, Language and Power (Routledge: London, 2007).


Catherine Poujol is Full Professor at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, (INALCO), Paris,  Director of the Eurasian Department at the INALCO, Director of the Observatory of Post-Soviet States at the INALCO,  Former President of the European Society of Central Asian Studies for two terms. Professor Poujol also served as Consultant at the Delegation of Strategic Affairs from 1992 to 2000, for the Central Asian Project at the School of Architecture Paris-Belleville from 1995 to 2008 and others.


Cholpon Turdalieva is Professor of Anthropology at AmericanUniversity of Central Asia, Doctor of Historical Sciences. Her research interests are in History and Culture of Kyrgyzstan, 19th century Central Asian Travelogues, Anthropology of Kinship and so on. She has published two monographs and more than 30 articles.


Damir Esenaliev is a PhD student at the GraduateCenter of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) since September 2009. He holds a Master's degree  in Development Economics from the Williams College (USA). His professional experience includes Economist position at the World Bank office in the KyrgyzRepublic where he dealt with macroeconomic and poverty analysis, and various positions at the Economic Department of the National (Central) Bank of the KyrgyzRepublic. His research interests include transition economies, poverty analysis, intergenerational mobility.


David E. Merrell is a member of the legal bar associations of Utah and Idaho in the United States. He taught comparative law as a Fulbright Scholar in the KyrgyzRepublic and construction law as a visiting professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He received a B.A. from BrighamYoungUniversity, a J.D. from the University of Idaho, and an LL.M. in Asian and Comparative Law from the University of Washington School of Law. His dissertation topic is community-based dispute resolution in Central Asia.


Deniz Kandiyoti is Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, founding Chair of the Center of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus (2001-2004) and editor of Central Asian Survey. She holds degrees from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the author of Concubines, Sisters and Citizens: Identities and Social Transformation (in Turkish)  the editor of  Fragments of Culture: The Everyday of Modern Turkey (2002), Gendering the Middle East (1996) , Women, Islam and the State (1991) and numerous articles on gender, Islam, post-coloniality,  agrarian reforms in post-Soviet Central Asia and gender and conflict in Afghanistan.


Dmitry V. Shlapentokh is an Associate Professor of History at IndianaUniversity. He served as a visiting scholar/fellow at  George Mason University, Hudson Institute, HarvardUniversity, ColumbiaUniversity and others. Dr. Shlapentokh has published extensively. Recent publications include “Kondopoga—Ethnic/Social Tension in Putin’s Russia” in European Review (Vol. 18, 2010), “The Russian Far East: New Directions” in New Zealand International Review ( Vol. 35, Issue 2, 2010), “The Rise of the Russian Khalifat: The View from the Jihadist Side” in Iran and the Caucasus (Vol. 14, Number 1, 2010) and others.


Emil Nasritdinov is a lecturer in Anthropology at the AmericanUniversity of Central Asia. He holds PhD from the University of Melbourne. His broad research interests include migration, urban anthropology, religion and development.


Eugene Huskey is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Stetson University in Florida.  He is a specialist on politics and legal affairs in the USSR and the successor states of Russia and Kyrgyzstan.  Among his recent works on Kyrgyzstan are "The 2010 Referendum and Parliamentary Elections in Kyrgyzstan" (with David Hill) in Electoral Studies (2011); "Narrowing the Sites and Moving the Targets: Institutional Instability and the Development of an Opposition in Kyrgyzstan" (with Gulnara Iskakova), in Problems of Post-Communism (2011); and "The Barriers to Intra-Opposition Cooperation in the Post-Communist World: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan" (with Gulnara Iskakova) in Post-Soviet Affairs  (2010).


Fabio Indeo is a Research Fellow in Geopolitics of conflicts at the University of Camerino (Italy). He is also Geopolitical Analyst of the OMPSI (Center for the Monitoring of Peace and Security) and member of Asian (Italian Society for Central Asian and Caucasian Studies). His research has mainly been focused on geopolitics of Central Asia and the influence of external actors (Russia, EU, US, China) as well as the democratization process in Central Asia. Fabio holds a Ph.D in Geopolitics, Geostrategy and Geoeconomy at the University of Trieste. His recent publications (in English) include The geopolitical consequences of the US-Russian “military airbase race” in Central Asia, in “The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly”, vol.8, No.3, 2010; Russia and China in Central Asia: growing geopolitical competition, “ISPI Policy Brief” and others.


Farkhod Tolipov is a Director of the non-governmental Research and Education Institution “Bilim Karvoni” (“Knowledge Caravan”) and the Associate Professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Tashkent. His works focus on geopolitics, regional security and regional integration in Central Asia, nationalism and democratization in Central Asian countries. Dr. Tolipov is a member of the international editorial board of the journal “Central Asia and Caucasus”. He is also a member of senior advisors board of the “China-Eurasia Forum” and Central Eurasian Studies Society.


Giulia Panicciari graduated in 2006 at University of Turin in Foreign Languages and Literatures (Lingue e letterature straniere), with Russian as first language. 2004-2005 Giulia conducted field research in Moscow, for the redaction of the dissertation. Her interest focused on migration flows from Central Asia to Russia in the post-Soviet space. Since 2009 Giulia has been a PhD candidate in a joint project with TurinUniversity and INALCO in Paris, with the thesis focusing on “Transformation of a multi-ethnic society from the Empire to the Nation-State.”


Gulnara K. Ibraeva is Associate Professor of Sociology at AmericanUniversity of Central Asia, Kandidat nauk in Political Sociology (SanktPetersburgStateUniversity).  Alumnus  of  KyrgyzStateUniversity , Journalism Department and SanktPetersburgStateUniversity, Sociology Department.  Media and Gender Expert.  She teaches “Classical Social Theory”, “Contemporary and Advanced Social Theory”, Media and Society”, “Urban Sociology” and other courses.  


Ilya Levine studied politics and economics at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He completed a Master of International Politics degree at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2008. He is currently living in Melbourne and writing a PhD about American interests and policies in Central Asia during the George W Bush administration.


Jamby Jusubalieva, MA in Comparative Philosophy, Sorbonne University, is Chair of Arts and Sports Program at the American University of Central Asia AUCA. She teaches courses in Philosophy, Arts as well as the First Year Seminar.


John Heathershaw is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter. He undertook his doctoral work at the London School of Economics and Political Science and has previously held teaching and research posts at the University of Notre Dame, the AmericanUniversity in Central Asia, and King’s College, London.  Dr Heathershaw's research and publications address the politics of humanitarian aid, development, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and security assistance in Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan.  His recent book is titled Post-Conflict Tajikistan: the politics of peacebuilding and the emergence of legitimate order (Routledge, 2009). Heathershaw is a director of the Central Eurasian Studies Society and a member of the International Advisory Board of Central Asian Survey.                                       

John Schoeberlein served as director of the Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus at HarvardUniversity since its founding in 1993. He teaches courses at Harvard on culture and politics of Central Asia and Eurasia more broadly.  He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from HarvardUniversity.  His research focuses on identity, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, and community organization among the Islamic peoples of Central Eurasia, including especially Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.  Currently, he is teaching and doing research as a Visiting Professor at the EurasianNationalUniversity in Astana, and has previously been a visiting faculty member at the AmericanUniversity of Central Asia.


Khashayar Beigi is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at University of California Berkeley and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. His research interests span Islamic historiography, secularization, and institutional memory. He is currently conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Tajikistan


Marilisa Lorusso has degrees in Russian, Faculty of Languages ​​and Literatures, University Ca' Foscari of Venice, in Diplomatic and International Sciences, Genoa, where she accomplished a doctorate in Democracy and Human Rights. As an expert in the Caucasus region Marilisa has collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Mission in Georgia and at the Office of the Special Representative for the crisis in Georgia in Brussels. She collaborates with Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso and is Associate Researcher of ISPI (Milan) and University of Genoa.


Mark Kramer is Director of the Cold War Studies program and a senior fellow of the DavisCenter for Russian and Eurasian Studies at HarvardUniversity.  He has taught international relations and comparative politics at Harvard, YaleUniversity, and BrownUniversity and was formerly an Academy Scholar in Harvard's Academy of International and Area Studies and a Rhodes Scholar at OxfordUniversity.  His latest book, to be published in 2012, discusses the Russian-Chechen wars and unrest in the North Caucasus.


Matteo Fumagalli (PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2005) is Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of International Relations and European Studies at CentralEuropeanUniversity. Matteo’s interests include Central Asian, Caucasian and post-Soviet politics more broadly; the comparative study of authoritarianism; international security; the politics of development; ethno -nationalism, migration, and diasporas; state failure and collapse. His recent publications include articles in the International Political Science Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Ethnopolitics, Central Asian Survey and Osteuropa.  He currently serves on the advisory board of the OSF’s Central Asia Research and Training Initiative (CARTI), and leads the ‘Tajikistan and Afghanistan Access Program’ (OSF/HESP).


Medet Tiulegenov is an Assistant Professor at International and Comparative Politics Department of American University of Central Asia (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). His research and teaching interests include social movements, governance and public policy, civil society in transition countries. Until 2008 Medet has been working at Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan and prior to that he was a research fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and KyrgyzNationalUniversity. He graduated in history from KyrgyzStateUniversity (1993) and received Master of Public Administration from Bowling Green State University, USA (1996).


Nikolay Shevchenko is a Master student in International Relations and a Research Fellow at KIMEP, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan. He has presented a paper to the CRCESS conference at the University of Glasgow in May 2011 on Responsibility to Protect.


Paul Wordsworth has just returned from a season of fieldwork researching caravanserais and routes in the Karakum desert of Turkmenistan. The Karakum Routes Project is a new initiative to explore the archaeology of trade and travel along a small segment of what has often been termed the ‘Great Silk Roads’. This project is part of PhD research at the University of Copenhagen examining the interplay of empires and trade from the 10th-13th centuries in western Central Asia. Paul’s background is in landscape archaeology, focusing on geographical approaches to historical material culture.


Rouslan Jalil is an Assistant Professor at International and Comparative Politics (ICP) department at AmericanUniversity of Central Asia (AUCA). He teaches courses on Islam and Middle Eastern politics. He received his MA from the School of Economics and Social Science at HamburgUniversity. From 2003 to 2010 he worked at several research centers in Germany, including the Social Research Institute in Hamburg. His main research interests include: Islamic revival in Central Asia, contemporary Islamic movements, Islamic philosophy, Islam in Europe. Currently, he is working on 'transnational Islamic movements' in Central Asia in frameworks of PhD study.


Ruslan Rakhimov holds a PhD from the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS - France) and an Associate Professor at Anthropology Program, AUCA. He was a research team member of a project on Pastoral Societies in the Transition Period: Space and Local Authorities'.
Under this project, he conducted field research in Niger, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.  He published works on various issues of the transformation of Kyrgyz and Kazakh pastoral societies during Soviet times, and his research interests are nomads and socialism, migration in Central Asia, political anthropology, and soviet every-day life.


Sally N. Cummings teaches in the School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, UK. Her recent publications include: Symbolism and Power in Central Asia (ed., Routledge, 2010); Domestic and International Perspectives on Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Tulip Revolution’ (ed., Routledge, 2009); Kazakhstan: Power and the Elite (IB Tauris, 2005), Power and Change in Central Asia (ed., Routledge, 2002) and Kazakhstan: Centre-Periphery Relations (Royal Institute of International Affairs and Brookings Institution, 2000).


Seckin Kostem is a Ph.D. student at the department of Political Science at McGill University, Canada. He completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees in International Relations at Bilkent University, Turkey. His research interests include post-communist transformations with a specific focus on state-building and political institutions in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia.


Timor Sharan is a PhD candidate in the department of Politics and International Relations at University of Exeter. He is currently working on the political economy of networked politics in post-2001 Afghanistan. He is a founding member of the United Kingdom Afghanistan Studies Group (UKASG).


Valeri Hardin is Assistant Professor at AUCA. He teaches courses in literature, art and translation. Recently he has taught a course in Literature and Arts of Central Asia and translated into English a major book on Fine Arts in Kyrgyzstan.

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