Central Asia Center


Regional Research

Director: Beomshik Shin (Dept. of Political Science and Int’l Relations)
Co-Researchers: Myungkoo Kang (Dept. of Communication), Jeongwon Kang (Dept. of Anthropology), Kayoung Ko (SNUAC), Youngho Nam (Shinhan Univ.), Wonkyo Oh (Kyungpook Nat’l Univ.), Hyungho Jeong (Chonbuk Nat’l Intangible Cultural Institute, Chonbuk Nat’l Univ.)
Research Fellows: Taeyon Kim (SNUAC), Seungjo Yang (SNUAC), Ayoung Choi (SNUAC)

-Research no the unique internal processes of regional formation and external dynamics of Central Asia
-Collecting, classifying and analyzing data on the traditional life and culture of the Korean Diaspora in kazakhstan through field research
− Research on historical experiences and present diversity of Islam in Central Asia as a social phenomenon
− Aming to conduct interregional comparative research based on the understanding of the regional characteristics of Central Asia
− Various domestic and international research activities toward accumulating and strengthening research cpabilities (field research, colloquiums, academic conferences, publications)

The Formation and Dynamics of the Central Asian Region

Research Topics

As a continuation of the previous year’s investigation on “The Rise of China and the Response of Central Asia,” CECAS is proceeding with its second year of SNUAC’s foundation establishment project on the topic of “The Formation and Dynamics of the Central Asia Region: From the Periphery to the Center of Eurasia.” In addition, CECAS completed the first year of “Database Establishment and Book Series Publishing on the Traditional Life and Culture of Koreans in Central Asia (Koryo-saram) by Local Resources,” the foundational research project funded by National Research Foundation of Korea since 2014, and is currently un­dertaking the second year of the research. Since November 2015, CECAS has been carrying out joint research on “Islam in Central Asia: Historical Experiences and Present Diversity” with funding from National Re­search Foundation of Korea.

Major Research Outcomes

Through its foundation establishment project, CECAS is concluding its investigation on the historical, ethnic, geopolitical, and geoeconomic dynamics of Central Asia that have already manifested or are mani­festing as seen in the region’s formation process, civil war and ethnic conflicts, and the changing international political economy order. The foundational research project team was able to find much evidence that demonstrated the external dynamics of countries in this region as they actively interact with surrounding powers, while at the same time indicating the region’s dynamic internal formation process due to the influence of Soviet policies and Islam.

During the first year project, CECAS’s foundational research team con­ducted on-site investigations of Kazakhstan, thereby collecting a wide range of data on the traditional life and culture of the region’s Korean Diaspora (Koryo-saram). In order to collect data, the team investigated cities such as Almaty, Karaganda, and Kzyl-Orda, and followed the Koreans’ traces of life by visiting rural areas near the city as well as former concentration camps. Through such endeavors, the team was able to complete the task of systematically categorizing and analyzing the collected data.

Future Challenges and Outlook

In order to examine Central Asia’s regional political structure formed with cooperation with powerful nations and investigate the internal development dynamics of the region’s countries in the process of strengthening its regional characteristics, CECAS found it necessary to survey Central Asia’s historical, cultural, and political and legacies and its effect on the present situation. As a consequence, CECAS initiated a new research project on the topic of “Islam as a social phenomenon that constitutes an important component of contemporary Central Asia’s political, economic, and social everyday life.” Such research on the characteristics and role of Central Asian Islam, which exerts influ­ence at multiple levels of society and individuals during different time periods, is expected to provide not only an understanding of Central Asia’s internal dynamics, but also a research basis that compares it with other Islamic regions. These results are expected to contribute to expanding the scope of research on Islam in general.