For the fourth consecutive year, the CESS book prize committee proposes to hold an author- critic forum to discuss the winner of the previous year's CESS book prize. Last year's winner was Joo-Yup Lee, for his book, Qazaqlïq, or Ambitious Brigandage, and the Formation of the Qazaqs. It is a clear, concise, and utterly convincing contribution to the field. Lee assembles sources across multiple languages in order to situate the origins of Uzbek vs Kazakh national identities in their historical context. The title is a wry reference to the book's other major contribution, which is an explication of the origins of the "Cossacks." Most scholarship on the Cossacks emphasizes the Slavic and Christian nature of this freedom-loving group, and often in the context of Ukrainian national history. Lee's key contribution is to illuminate the connections between kazak (Cossack) and qazaq (the figure who engages in qazaqliq, a specifically Central Asian concept). Lee's is real history: A unique book that demonstrates the great potential of careful reconstruction of meaning through critical translation of texts in context. The panel will be composed of one chair, three critics, and the author. Each of the critics brings a different regional or methodological expertise to the conversation; all have authored multiple books and numerous monographs. Uli Schamiloglu is a specialist in the history of medieval Central Eurasia and the Golden Horde, as well as the history of the Turkic languages and cultures of Central Eurasia. Beatrice Manz is a specialist in the Timurid Dynasty. Scott Levi is a historian of the social and economic history of early and modern Central Asia. Christopher Atwood works on the relation of culture (especially history writing and religion) to the formation of political power in inner Eurasia.