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Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies


Using Islam as an analytical framework, the Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies (CECAS) has been investigating the newly unfolding political, economic, social, and cultural phenomena in Central Asia since its independence. Moreover, the center has been building a research database on the history and traditional culture of Central Asian Korean diaspora (Koryo-saram). CECAS plans to expand the scope of Central Asian studies by organizing expert seminars on topics such as Islam and Korean anti-Imperial Japan
activists in Central Asia.

Research Topics

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

In 2017, CECAS has 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 publish two books under the topic of ‘Historical Experiences and Contemporary Choices of Central Asia’ in 2018 by compiling research papers on Islam as a social phenomenon in Central Asia. Additionally, a pair of books will be published on ‘Traditional Life and Culture in Central Asia.’ The center will deepen its basic research program on ‘Islam as Central Asian regional identity and social phenomenon’ and will expand research area including Siberia and the Russian Far East for investigating the
movement of objects, people, capital, and culture within the region. CECAS will try to comprehend the vigorous interaction between uprising Central Asia which had been constrained since the post-cold war and the surrounding atmosphere as ‘21st Century Silk Road’. CECAS also will examine how present interaction differs from historical phenomena around the Silk Road.

Publications

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).

People

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

Co-Researchers:
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)

Research Assistants:
Jongyo Park (SNU)
Sardaana Rumyantseva (SNU)
Sokhiba Yusupova (SNU)
Seoungsoo Yuk (Hankuk Univ. of Foreign Studies)
Kumkang Lee (SNU)
Suyu Lee (SNU)
Ha Yan Lee(SNU)
Ri Choi (SNU)