July 2014 Events

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"The Crimean Tatars: Past, Present, and Future"

Uli Schamiloglu, Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison


When: Tuesday, July 1, 4:00pm

Where: 2190 Grainger Hall

Sponsors: The Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI)


About the Speaker: Uli Schamiloglu received his B.A. from Columbia College in Middle East Languages and Cultures and his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University in History. He is a professor in UW- Madison's Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia. Dr. Schamiloglu taught as a lecturer and assistant professor in the Department of Uralic & Altaic Studies (now the Department of Central Eurasian Studies) at Indiana University-Bloomington from 1983-89. He joined the department of Slavic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989 and, beginning in 1996, was instrumental in the development of the new Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia. Dr. Schamiloglu has been chair of the Central Asian Studies Program since 2002 and director of the Center for Middle East Studies since 2006.


About the Lecture: The annexation of the Crimea, which was a part of the Republic of Ukraine, by the Russian Federation in March 2014 has been condemned widely by the international community. This event has been most traumatic for the community of Crimean Tatars, who are the largest indigenous community in the Crimea. This presentation introduces the Crimea and its rich history since ancient times.  It offers an overview of the Crimean Khanate and the fate of the Crimean Tatars following the incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Empire in the late 18th century, after which many of Tatars fled the peninsula. The Crimean Tatars were also deported from their homeland in 1944 and only began to return to their former homeland several decades ago. The presentation concludes with a look at their current predicament and what the future holds for Crimean Tatars living in a land whose annexation by the Russian Federation they reject.

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“A Look at Some Pre-Islamic Elements in the Culture of the Kazakhs”

Kagan Arik, Ayasli Lecturer in Turkish Language, University of Chicago


When: Tuesday, July 8, 4:00pm

Where: 2190 Grainger Hall

Sponsors: The Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI)


About the Speaker: Dr. Kağan Arık (PhD 1999, NELC/ANTH., University of Washington, Seattle) is the Ayaslı Lecturer in Modern Turkish and Turkic languages, and coordinator for the Modern Turkish language program at the University of Chicago since 2008. He has also been active as Lecturer in Uzbek and Central Asian Studies since 2000.


Dr. Kağan Arık has 25 years experience in language pedagogy for Modern Turkish Language and Literature. He has designed courses and teaching materials for intensive Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Turkish language, as well as Modern Turkish literature. He also has interest in the historical development of the Turkish language and its various dialects, and is a member of the American Association of Teachers of Turkish and Turkic Languages.


Dr. Arik also has a background as an anthropologist (socio-cultural, linguistic, medical) of Central Asia, and he has studied the region since 1987. He has investigated pre-Islamic elements in the culture of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia and Turkey, and has published on the culture of the Kazak nomads in China, the oral literature of the Kirghiz, and on traditional healing among the Turkic peoples. His travels took him to Turkey, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tatarstan, and in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of the PRC. His regional languages of interest include Turkish, Kazak, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Turkmen, Azeri, Tuvan, Altai, Persian/Tajik, and Chinese. In addition to his activities in Turkish and Turkic language pedagogy, he teaches courses on the musical and medical anthropology of Central Asia, Central Asian History, Oral Literature, and on Old and Middle Turkic texts in the original. He founded the Central Asian Studies Society at the University of Chicago in 2000, and is a board member of the Central Eurasian Studies Committee at the University of Chicago.


About the Lecture: Once mostly nomadic, the majority of Kazakhs today are settled in the vast Republic of Kazakhstan, though significant populations of Kazakhs continue to practice seasonal transhumance in adjacent areas in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and in western Mongolia. Though the Kazakhs self-identify as a Muslim people, certain distinctly pre-Islamic elements are evident in their culture, connecting them to their ancient Turkic past. Such pre-Islamic elements are noticeable in the traditional healing methods used by Kazakh baqsï, personages akin to shamans. An analysis of these methods may reveal connections to an older cosmology within the way of life shared by the Turkic-speaking peoples, all the while allowing the personage of the baqsï to emerge as a distinct figure among the various types of shamans encountered in Inner Asian folklore.

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Film Screening: Horsemen of China


When: Tuesday, July 15, 4:00pm

Where: 2190 Grainger Hall

Sponsors: The Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI)


Nova | 1986 | 55 min


About the Film: This film takes an in-depth look at Kazakh life in China.











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"Opportunities for Electronic Government to Reduce Corruption and Bureaucracy in Kazakhstan"

Gulmira Sheryazdanova, Bolashak Visiting Scholar, University of Wisconsin-Madison


When: Tuesday, July 22, 4:00pm

Where: 2190 Grainger Hall

Sponsors: The Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI)


About the Speaker: Gulmira Sheryazdanova is currently a Bolashak Visiting Scholar at UW-Madison’s Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Kazakh Agrotechnical University in the name of S. Seifullin, in Astana. She earned her Ph.D. in 1998 from the Institute of Philosophy at the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences with a doctoral thesis titled “Development of democracy in the context of social political modernization of Kazakhstan.”


About the Lecture: E-Government or electronic Government is defined as ‘The employment of the Internet and the world-wide-web for delivering government information and services to the citizens.’ (United Nations, 2006). The increasing role of electronic government has gone hand-in-hand with the growing demands for transparency and accountability in all regions of the world. Kazakhstan is not an exception. One of the important functions of electronic government is reducing the risk of corruption. E-government creates «transparent communication" that allows citizens to apply directly to the government through the internet, remove officials as the mediators between citizens and the government, and thus reduce the risk of administrative corruption.


In this lecture Sheryazdanova will try to answer the following questions:


1) What should be done by the Kazakhstani government to make a correlation between electronic government and the reduction of corruption more apparent?


2) What are real examples of Kazakhstan’s e-government reducing administrative corruption?

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Film Screening: Waiting for Uighurstan


When: Tuesday, July 29, 4:00pm

Where: 2190 Grainger Hall

Sponsors: The Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI)


Sean Roberts | 1996 | 55 min


About the Film: Shot while the filmmaker was conducting ethnographic fieldwork, this documentary is about personal survival and nationalist desire in the borderlands of the former Soviet Union. It chronicles the experiences of three Uighurs who live in the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the 1950s and 60s, during the turmoil following Mao's revolution, they fled their homeland in China's Xinjiang province for a new life in the USSR. Cut off from their homeland for over 20 years, they only re-established ties with their family and friends in Xinjiang in the mid 1980s. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, they have survived by working in the tenuous trade between Kazakhstan and their homeland in China. Caught between the politics of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and China, they dream of the establishment of a Uighur state in their homeland which will allow them to determine their own fate.

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