A workshop held in conjunction with the exhibition “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan” currently at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian Institution until December 2, 2012.
Nomadism has been a key aspect of culture in the Eurasian space, especially on the Kazakh steppes, throughout the centuries. The Russian colonization and the Soviet Union drastically transformed the Kazakh society in the 19th and 20th century. Since independence in 1991, the legacy of nomadism has been rehabilitated by the political authorities in their nation building schemes.
The society has also participated in reconstructing symbols of the nomadic past: they have become objects of memory and research, but also objects of artistic inspiration, and commercial branding. This workshop invites a team of experts to discuss the contemporary use of the concept of nomadism from various angles.
In the newly independent states of Central Asia, geopolitical practices and affinities cannot be understood in isolation from their Soviet heritage. However, after nearly 25 years since the collapse of the USSR, this near-automatic explanation of contemporary politics in terms of Soviet legacies is no longer sufficient for understanding Central Asia’s shifting geopolitics. In this paper, I analyze how geopolitical identities are narrated through urban development schemes in Astana, Baku, and Ashgabat – and in particular how they are increasingly connected to new flows of actors, ideas, and finance from the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Adopting a critical geopolitics approach, I compare and contrast elements of these capital city development schemes in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan with those in Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Through this comparative analysis, I demonstrate how region-making and geopolitical orientations unfold not just at the level of rhetorical positioning, but can also develop through the material practices of cross-regional networks around highly specific political tactics, like capital city development. Also considering divergences, I note that although the urban landscapes these tactics materialize are very similar, there are important differences in the underlying political geographic and political economic factors that makes them possible, as well as the political relations they sustain and produce.[/vc_column_text][vc_button title=”Please RSVP” target=”_self” color=”btn-warning” icon=”none” size=”btn-large” href=”http://go.gwu.edu/gcc” el_class=”align-center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]
with Umut Korkut, Glasgow Caledonia University
Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the Hungarian right engaged in a collective soul searching on what formulates Hungarian identity. Dr. Korkut’s paper elaborates on the discourses of the Hungarian conservative and radical right-wing political and intellectual coalitions that Hungarians in terms of their language, culture, and identity fit better with Eurasia imagined as a geographic and a geopolitical entity.
Dr. Umut Korkut is a Reader in Politics at Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University. He was been admitted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with magna cum laude at the Central European University in Budapest in 2004. He was awarded the “Doçent” title by the Turkish High Education Authority in 2009. His current research focus is broadly social policy, liberalization, religion and gender rights, migration, democratization and Europeanization in Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey. He will be a visiting fellow at Slavic and Russian Studies Centre at University of Hokkaido from June to September 2015.[/vc_column_text][vc_button title=”Please RSVP” target=”_self” color=”btn-warning” icon=”none” size=”btn-large” href=”http://go.gwu.edu/Korkut” el_class=”align-center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]