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Central Asia and other ‘minor-ized’ regions: the poor relatives of high theory? 
Jeanne Féaux de la Croix (University of Bern)
Aksana Ismailbekova (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO))
Malika Bahovadinova (The University of Amsterdam)
Jeanine Dagyeli (University of Vienna and Austrian Academy of Sciences)
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Friday 26 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This round table explores dynamics of anthropological knowledge production on Central Asia, and other ‘minor-ized’ regions. How is anthropological theory grounded, recognized and distributed? How do forms of engaged anthropology relate to ‘regional debates’ and ‘high theory’?

Long Abstract:

In anthropological knowledge production, some regions garner more interest than others. Minorized regions rarely become the site of generalizing theoretical debates. Unless findings closely follow theory developed elsewhere, writing produced in and on these regions is often side-lined e.g. in major journals. These dynamics profoundly impact scholars, the discipline, and often local communities.

This round table explores the intersecting dynamics of anthropological knowledge production on Central Asia, and other ‘minor-ized’ regions (Herzfeld 1987). Do these regions only become recognized as sites of ‘global’ theory-production at the height of crises, such as the Fall of the Soviet Union? How do colonial legacies of knowledge-production marginalize parts of the world outside anglophone empires (Kojanić 2020)? Using ‘The Central Asian World’ anthropology handbook as a starting point, we invite a discussion of temporal, geographic and political imaginaries to ask: how is anthropological theory grounded, recognized and distributed (Chatterji 2004, Kilani 2012)? Does anthropology with a strong regionalist commitment have a greater chance of producing response-able and impactful knowledge outside academia? When do more embedded connections to state interests and funding priorities undermine that potential?

In the wake of the ‘anti-colonial’ Soviet empire, vibrant decolonizing discussions are taking place with unexpected twists, challenging historical narratives and redefining anthropological purpose (Bissenova and Medeuova 2016). How does this approach inform notions of ‘Central Asia’ and other regions? How do forms of engaged anthropology relate to ‘regionalism’ and ‘high theory’? This discussion is hosted by Tajik, German and Kyrgyz scholars.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Friday 26 July, 2024, -