Central Eurasian Studies Society. Annual Conference

Annual Conference

One of the core functions of the Central Eurasian Studies Society is to organize conferences that bring together the Central Eurasian scholarly community. CESS has held an annual conference hosted by universities across North America since 2000. The Annual Conference regularly features up to 70 panels and attracts approximately 300 scholars from around the globe.

One of the core functions of the Central Eurasian Studies Society is to organize conferences that bring together the Central Eurasian scholarly community. CESS has held an annual conference hosted by universities across North America since 2000. The Annual Conference regularly features up to 70 panels and attracts approximately 300 scholars from around the globe.

Our 20th Annual Conference, CESS 2019, will be held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from October 10-13, 2019.

Conference Host

This year’s conference will be hosted by the Central Asia Program, at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. The Elliott School prepares nearly 3,000 students each year for meaningful careers in international affairs. The School’s faculty conducts research, produces scholarship and contributes to the public debate on global issues to advance understanding and to help foster solutions. The School is located just steps from some of the most influential U.S., international and nongovernmental organizations in the world. This singular position in the heart of the District of Columbia enriches the School teaching and research by giving students and faculty unparalleled opportunities to engage with the international leaders who walk through our doors on a regular basis.

Launched in 2012, George Washington University’s Central Asia Program (CAP) promotes state of the art academic research on contemporary Central Asia and is an interface for the policy, academic, diplomatic, and business communities working on and in the region. CAP stimulates a multidisciplinary approach by combining the fields of political science, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, economics, globalization studies, development studies, and security studies. It concentrates on the five post-Soviet states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), as well as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Xinjiang, and Mongolia.

Next Steps If Your Proposal Is Accepted

Proposal outcomes were sent by email on May 8, 2019. If your proposal has been accepted for inclusion in the conference program, congratulations! Your next steps are:

1. Ensure you are an active CESS member, a requirement for all those who present at the conference. If you are not currently a member, you can (re)join by paying the invoice you were emailed (for those who were members in 2018) or joining as a new member.

2. Register for the conference by the presenter registration deadline of September 1, 2019.

3. If you need a letter of acceptance from CESS, log into Cocoa, then, after confirming your contact details, select the “A” button next to your paper title.

4. Visa invitation letters can be requested from the host institution, George Washington University. Please email [email protected]; include the word ‘CESS’ in the subject line. In your email, include: a) Your first and last name exactly as written in your passport, b) Name of your institution/affiliation, c) Your date of birth.

Visa invitation letters will only be issued to presenters; non-presenting delegates and family members of presenters are not eligible for a visa letter.

If you have any accessibility requirements or timing requests, please contact CESS as soon as possible. We will do our best to incorporate timing requests, but cannot guarantee these.

Please contact CESS by June 1, 2019 if you can no longer attend the conference.


Registration for CESS 2019 is open.

If your proposal has been accepted, you must register by the presenter deadline of September 1, 2019. Any presenters who have not registered by this date will be removed from the conference program.

Travel Grants

Travel grants for presenters at CESS 2019 are being offered. Please see the travel grants page for full details. Applications closed on April 30, 2019.

Photo Contest – NEW for 2019!

In a world where the visual is becoming an integral part of knowledge, visuals can also express scholarly knowledge. As such, for CESS 2019, we are organizing our first-ever photo contest under the title: “The Researcher and His/Her Fieldwork in Central Eurasia”.

We invite scholars and journalists to submit photos of Central Eurasia (as defined by CESS) that reflect on the relationship between the researcher and the object of research and illuminate the different faces of fieldwork.

Each photo should be accompanied by a short text (100 words maximum) explaining the meaning of the photo, as well as the place and year it was taken.

30 to 35 photos will be selected to be exhibited in the main hall of The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs from October 1 to October 31, 2019.

The competition is open to all CESS members who have paid their membership for 2019.

Photos should be of high resolution. We reserve the right to reject any photos that cannot be printed in sufficiently high quality.

Please send your photo and the text at [email protected]

Deadline to submit photos: May 31, 2019
Announcement of winners: June 28, 2019
CESS 2019 photo contest posterDownload

Keynote speakers

Mohira Suyarkulova is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, American University of Central Asia. She studied International Relations at the University of St Andrews, Scotland (UK) and defended her PhD thesis on statehood and sovereignty in Central Asia in 2011.

Dr Mohira Suyarkulova, CESS 2019 keynote speaker
Dr Mohira Suyarkulova, CESS 2019 keynote speaker

Since then she has held a number of teaching and research positions in Europe and Central Asia.  Dr. Suyarkulova’s research interests cover a wide range of topics. She is currently completing a project on environmental history of the Syrdarya River in Khujand, Tajikistan as well as leading a participatory action study of the sexual lives of queer people in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.  Mohira is a queer communist and feminist, engaged in a number of initiatives on the intersection of academia, activism and art. She lives and works in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Harsha Ram is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Harsha Ram, CESS 2019 keynote speaker
Dr Harsha Ram, CESS 2019 keynote speaker

Dr Ram’s research interests and expertise are: Russian and European romanticism and modernism, Russian and European avant-gardes, Russian, European, Near Eastern and South Asian poetic traditions, Indian literature, Italian literature, Georgian history and literature, theories of world literature, literary theory, comparative poetics, genre theory, literary history, comparative modernisms and modernities, vernacular and high culture, cultural and political history of Russia-Eurasia and the Caucasus, postcolonial studies, theories of nationalism, imperialism and cosmopolitanism, the city and literature.


The conference program will be available in online version from July 2019. A pdf version of the final program will be published here in September 2019.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-conference workshops will be offered again at the CESS 2019 Annual Conference. Applications to run pre-conference workshops were accepted until March 21, 2019. Visit the pre-conference workshops page for more information.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Call for proposals opens February 2019
Deadline for proposal submissions March 31, 2019
Proposal outcomes communicated May 8, 2019
Conference registration opens May 2019
Travel grant outcomes communicated Late May/Early June 2019
Preliminary conference program published
(Online program will be continuously updated from this date)
July 2019
Early bird registration deadline September 1, 2019
Presenter registration deadline September 1, 2019
Printable conference program published September 23, 2019
Deadline to send paper to panel members September 26, 2019
Pre-conference workshops October 9-10, 2019
Annual Conference October 10-13, 2019

Conference Rules and Guidelines

Before submitting a proposal, please view CESS’ conference rules and guidelines.

The working language of the CESS Annual Conference is English. However, we will consider proposals for panels (not individual papers) in languages other than English. Please see our Conference Language Policy for details.

2019 Conference Guidebook