Cosponsored by the Central Asia Program, IERES-Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Ethnic Uzbeks in the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) attempted to create a place for themselves in the Kyrgyz-dominated nation-state since its independence in 1991.  For a while, there were reasons to be optimistic about this minority community.  Even though they felt ethnic discrimination, local Uzbek leaders labored through the 1990s and 2000s to build institutions that serve the Uzbek communities within the framework of their Kyrgyzstani citizenship.  That model of ethnic community-building now lies in tatters after the massive conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in June 2010.  What now for Uzbeks in the Kyrgyz Republic?  This talk evaluates their prospects in light of sixteen years of detailed ethnographic work among Osh Uzbeks.

The Speaker:
Morgan Y. Liu is a cultural anthropologist studying Islamic revival, postsocialist states, and social justice movements.  An Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University, he teaches about the Middle East, Central Asia, Islamic revival and social justice, and cultural theory.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University.  His Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan in Anthropology.
His 2012 book, Under Solomon’s Throne: Uzbek Visions of Renewal in Osh (University of Pittsburgh Press), concerns how ethnic Uzbeks in the ancient Silk Road city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan think about political authority and post-Soviet transformations, based on research using vernacular language interviews and ethnographic fieldwork of urban social life from 1993 to 2011.
Morgan’s current research investigates Islamic notions of just society in Central Asia, and comparatively across the Middle East, Russia, China, and elsewhere in Asia.  He wishes to investigate how Central Asians believe Islam could address structural problems such as “corruption” and social inequality.

Liu's recent Annual Review of Anthropology article gives an accessible scholarly introduction to post-Soviet Central Asia, and makes a few arguments about what's at stake in our knowledge of the region:

Please note that seating for this event is available on a first come, first served basis. Please call on the day of the event to confirm. Please bring an identification card with a photograph (e.g. driver's license, work ID, or university ID) as part of the building's security procedures.

The Kennan Institute speaker series is made possible through the generous support of the Title VIII Program of the U.S. Department of State.


  • Morgan Yih-yang Liu

    Associate Professor, Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University