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Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies

The Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies (CECAS) has been investigating the newly unfolding political, economic, social and cultural phenomnea in Central Asia and Eurasia. It also aims to study current affairs and identity of ‘Central Asian region’ and ‘Eurasian region’. Recently, it implemented a research on Islam which formulates the basis of lifestyle and mentality of the people in Central Asia and collected interviews, photographs, videos, and documents related with traditional lifestyle of Koryo-saram (Two volumes of books were published based on this research). Also, CECAS has sought to promote interests of the public in Central Asia and Eurasia by hosting academic conferences, cultural events, and seminars, and through fieldworks. Finally, it seeks to extend the scope of research and its outcome through exchange with other domestic and foreign research institutes.

Research Topics

  • Border Study: research on the formation of borders and their change in historical context, and how the borders have driven political, economic and social changes in the region
  • Migration Study: research on the ‘second wave of migration’ in Central Asia by focusing on migration policy and regime, migrant workers and gender
  • Logistics Study: research on the logistics and construction of infrastructure in Eurasia in the context of “Revitalization of New Silk Road’ and the relations with neighboring countries
  • Islam in Central Asia: research on the impacts of Islam as religion and cultural norms on the lifestyle of the people in Central Asia
  • Diaspora Study in Eurasia: Research how the life of Koryo-saram and Jews have changed through oral history and collection of data

In 2017, CECAS has examined the characteristics and roles of Islam manifested in Central Asian states and societies under the topic of ‘Islam as an instrument of constructing Central Asian regional identity’. Diachronic analysis on the Central Asian policies of Russian and Soviet Union regimes was conducted. Topics on the Islam policies of Kazakhstan government, radical Islamic groups, and the Halal industry were also scrutinized. Moreover, the center explored Islam in contemporary Kazakhstan through analyzing religious consciousness of young Kazakhstan Muslims and the controversy on banning wearing hijabs in public schools.

In addition, research materials were collected via interviewing Koryo-saram in Kyrgyzstan for the publication and database project of traditional lifestyle and culture of Central Asian Koryo-saram. Also, research on the development of Korea-Russia relations and formation of the new order in Northeast Asia seeking for a multilayered examination in terms of regional and multilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia has commenced in 2017.

Major Research Outcomes

CECAS published two volumes, Historical and Cultural Experience of Islam in Central Asia and Politics and Society and Economy of Contemporary Islam in Central Asia in 2019. Additionally, two books were be published regarding the ‘Traditional Life and Culture in Central Asia.’ The center has also deepened its basic research program on ‘Islam as Central Asian regional identity and social phenomenon’ and expanded research area including Siberia and the Russian Far East for investigating the
movement of objects, people, capital, and culture within the region.

In 2017, CECAS investigated the historical context of Islam and contemporary choices as a social phenomenon in Central Asia. The background and significance of the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly (founded by Russia from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century) and changes in Islam policies sought by the Soviet regime via the establishment of the Muslim Spiritual Assembly during Second World War were analyzed. Furthermore, a comparative analysis on the prospects of the radical Islamic movement in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan has been conducted. In addition, the ‘official-unofficial’ feature of Uzbekistani Islam was investigated through analyzing descriptions of Islam in Uzbekistan history textbooks and studying everyday Islam in the daily lives of Uzbekistanis. Through the special lecture ‘Sharia and Islamic Ethics’, an opportunity for understanding the similarities and regional characteristics of Central Asian Islam compared to Middle Eastern Islam was provided.

The Heart of Eurasian Beats Again was published which is a compilation of research on the rise of Central Asia during the Eurasian international political order, historical formation of Central Asian states, ethnic conflicts, economic and political issues, and migration situations. Moreover, influences of Republic of Korea as the motherland on young Central Asian Koryo-saram’s perception of traditional culture and construction of ethnic identity were examined. Research outcomes from 2015 to 2017 and the database established of the traditional life and culture of Central Asian Koryo-saram were published in two books. The Russo-Korean translation, A History of the Russian Far East which reviewed the history of the Far East in relation to East Asia was also published.

Future Plans

CECAS plans to research the following: 1) the formation of a ‘region’ 2) how dynamics of regional integration and divisions change 3) interactions between a region and its external world, all in the context of Central Asia. Specifically, this research aims to study the origins of border formation and its historicity in Central Asia and how the identity of people and everyday life have changed according to the process of nation building. Also, it seeks to capture how international changes influence the connectivity and range of Central Asia as a region.


Shin. B. S. et al. (2019). Historical and Cultural Experience of Islam in Central Asia. Zininzin.

Shin. B. S. (eds.) (2019). Politics, Society and Economy of Contemporary Islam in Central Asia. Zininzin.

Oh, W. K. (Transl.) (2019). Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia. Zininzin

Oh, W. K. (2019). The Aspects and Prospects of Everyday Islam in Contemporary Kazakhstan. Russian Language and Literature, 64.

Ko, K. Y. (2019). Soviet’s Islamic Policy in Central Asia: Anti-Religious Campaign and Anti-Colonial Agenda. Slavic-Eurasian Studies, 34(1).

Shin, B. S. et al. (2018). The heart of Eurasian beats again: The historic formation and dynamics of Central Asia. Zininzin.

Kang, J. W. et al. (2018). The traditional life and culture of Koreans in Central Asia(Koryosaram): Kazakhstan. Minsokwon.

Kang, J. W. et al. (2018). The traditional life and culture of Koreans in Central Asia(Koryosaram): Uzbekistan. Minsokwon.

Yang, S. J. (Transl.) (2018). A history of the Russian Far East. Zininzin.

Ko, K. Y. (2017). Influence of the Second World War on the establishment and activity of CAMSA (Central Asia Muslim Spiritual Assembly). Journal of Slavic Studies, 32(1).

Kim, T. Y. (2017). A comparative study of the mobilization potential for radical Islamic movements in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Russian Studies, 27(2).

Yang, S. J. (2017). Islam in the confessional policy of Russian Empire in the Kazakh Steppe and the role of the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly in the late 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries. Journal of Slavic Studies, 32(4).

Oh, W. K (2017). The aspects and prospects of everyday Islam in contemporary Uzbekistan. Russian Studies, 27(1).

Choi, A. Y. (2017). A study on Islamic narrative in history textbooks of Uzbekistan. Journal of Slavic Studies, 32(1).

Choi, A. Y. (2017). A study on Korean youth’s perception of traditional culture – with a focus on analysis on influence from their country of origin. Journal of Slavic Studies, 32(4).


Beomshik Shin (Dept. of Political Science & Int’l Relations)

Myungkoo Kang (Dept. of Communication)
Jeongwon Kang (Dept. of Anthropology)
Taeyeon Kim (Dept. of Russian Language and Literature)
Youngho Nam (Shinhan Univ.)
Wonkyo Oh (Kyunggi Univ.)
Ikjoong Yoon (Hallym Univ. of Grad. Studies)
Sunwoo Lee(Chonbuk Nat’l Univ.)
Hyungho Jeong (Chonbuk Nat’l Univ.)
Youngkwan Jo (Korea Eximbank Overseas Economic Research Ins’t)
Sergei Sevastianov(Far Eastern Federal Univ.)

Research Fellows:
Kayoung Ko (SNUAC)
Seungjo Yang (SNUAC)
Ayoung Choi (SNUAC)
Hyosup Kim (SNUAC)

Research Assistants:
Minseo Yi(SNU)
Daehyun Cho(SNU)
Jung Minki(SNU)
Subin Lee(SNU)