Context Column


Central Asia-related activities

The IFSH has been engaged in work on and in Central Asia for more than a decade. Defined narrowly, the region encompasses the five states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The region is heavily influenced by its two giant neighbours, Russia and China. It also has numerous links with Afghanistan to the south. Central Asia has a shared pre-Soviet history, and was particularly shaped by the Soviet period. The five republics created under the umbrella of the Soviet Union became independent in 1991. Though they share similar histories, they have developed distinct institutions and political systems.

IFSH researchers are currently working on a range of topics concerning state and society in Central Asia, including

  • the foreign and security policies of the Central Asian states, their co-operation and interdependencies with major powers such as Russia, China and the USA, and particularly, the Afghanistan policies of the Central Asian states;
  • questions of local resources for peacemaking and peacekeeping, particularly in the Ferghana Valley in Kyrgyzstan;
  • the communicative and symbolic dimensions of political legitimacy between state and society;
  • questions of state building, modernization and political conflicts.
  • relations between the secular state and Islam
  • questions on the formation and application of theory in the context of “western” social sciences and “non-western” societies. Alongside the critical application of theories from international relations and historical sociology, reconstructive procedures from empirical social research appear promising in this regard.

Fieldwork plays a key role in the research process, as do intensive exchanges with academics from the region. The IFSH has regularly worked with local partners to organize workshops (DAAD summer schools) on urgent questions and current issues. The IFSH maintains good and frequent contacts with partner institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and has enjoyed occasional successful co-operation with partners from Uzbekistan.
Since 2013, the IFSH has organized the annual interdisciplinary Hamburg Central Asia Day. The partners in 2014 were the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Tübingen, and the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) from Berlin.
During 2015, IFSH staff will present the institute’s research on Central Asia at several international conferences, including EISA 2015, the DAAD Cooperation Forum in Tbilisi, and events at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and the Australian National University.

Ongoing and completed projects

Conferences and DAAD Summer Schools

2. Interdisziplinärer Zentralasientag "Zum Verhältnis von Staat und Gesellschaft: Persistenz und Wandel in Zentralasien", 05.12.2014 in Hamburg.

DAAD Sommerschule "Modernization and Conflict in Central Asia", 4. - 9. August 2014, Almaty, Kasachstan

1. Interdisziplinärer Zentralasientag zum Stand der Zentralasienforschung in Deutschland, September 2013, IFSH Hamburg.

DAAD Sommerschule zur Bedeutung des Afghanistankonflikts für Zentralasien, 2.-9. August 2013, in Duschanbe, Tadschikistan.

IFSH Sommerschule zur Bedeutung des Afghanistankonflikts für Zentralasien, 25. Juni bis 1. Juli 2012, Astana, Kasachstan.

Demokratisierungskonferenz 2008

Courses and Supervision of Master's Thesis

"'Krisenregion' Zentralasien? Politische und soziale Konflikte auf der ehemaligen Seidenstraße" (Hauptseminar im WS 2013/14 und WS 2014/15 am IFSH/Universität Hamburg)

2007, one-day seminars and lectures at five Kazakh universities in Almaty, Astana, and Karaganda, in co-operation with the OSCE Centre in Almaty.

Master's Thesis

Elmuradov, Aziz, Trans-boundary water conflict in the Amu Darya River Basin: a source of conflict or cooperation? Case study of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, Hamburg 2014. (Supervisor: Anna Kreikemeyer/Christiane Fröhlich/Götz Neuneck)

Alikulov, Mirzohid, Die Außenpolitik der Republik Usbekistan gegenüber Afghanistan, Hamburg 2014. (Supervisor: Sebastian Schiek/Martin Kahl)

Khushbakov, Izzat, The protection of the Russian Citizens and the Russian Minority as an instrument of Russian Foreign Policy. Comparative analysis of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 and the Crimea crisis 2014, Hamburg 2014 (2nd Supervisor: Sebastian Schiek)

Gerber, Mélanie, US strategies in Greater Central Asia: Analysis of the conflicting aims pursued by the United States of America between 1991 and 2010, Hamburg 2011. (Supervisor: Wolfgang Zellner/Martin Kahl)

Bayer, Anna-Karina, Russian Interests in Central Asia and the Consequences for NATO’s Policy in the Region, Hamburg 2011. (Supervisor: Johann Schmid/Ralf Lasinski)

Mukhtarova, Akbikesh, A comparative analysis of confidence and security-building measures in European and Asian security structures: The OSCE and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Hamburg 2010. (Supervisor: August Pradetto/Wolfgang Zellner)

Linke, Anne-Kristin, Conflict factors in Tajikistan: The current relation between the secular state and Islamic forces, Hamburg 2008. (Supervisor: Wolfgang Zellner/John Schoeberlein)

Inoyatova, Nodira, Exploring the obstacles for development in Central Asia through the prism of social capital. Case studies: Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan, Hamburg 2006. (Supervisor: Anna Kreikemeyer/Frank Evers)

Lada’a, Munir Ibrahim, Transboundary issues on the Caspian Sea: opportunities for cooperation, Hamburg 2005. (Supervisor: Michael Brzoska/Lars Wirkus)

Abbasova, Irada, Asymmetrische Ressourcenallokation und Sicherheitsbildungen in Zentralasien: Die grenzüberschreitende Nutzung vom Wasser und ihre sicherheitspolitische Instrumentalisierung, Hamburg 2004. (Supervisor: Frank Evers/Anna Kreikemeyer)

Institution building

OSCE Academy in Bishkek - In 2001-2004, in co-operation with the OSCE Centre in Bishkek
and the German delegation to the OSCE, CORE developped a concept  for an OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, assisted with fundraising, curriculum development, selection of teaching staff and students as well as teaching and supervision.


OSCE-Chairmanship Training -  Since 2007 CORE offers specialized OSCE-Chairmanship Trainings:

2008 and 2007, two four-week-long OSCE-related training courses
were held for altogether 15 officials from the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs (...)