Two BISA webinars on internationalisation and fieldwork, 18/19 June 2020

Internationalisation and the challenge to academic freedom: between authoritarian control and the logic of the market 18 June 2020, 12pm BST, Zoom Chair: John Heathershaw (University of Exeter) Participants: Katarzyna Kaczmarska (University of Edinburgh), Catherine Owen (University of Exeter), Yeşim Yaprak Yıldız (Goldsmiths, University of London),  Bahar Baser (Coventry University), Stephen Wordsworth (Council for At-Risk Academics), Teng Biao (City University of New York As the ‘internationalisation’ of […]

Academic Freedom in Tajikistan Endangered: What is to be Done?

Academic freedom is imperiled in Tajikistan, and determined action by the international academic community is needed to encourage Tajik authorities to ease pressure on scholars. The dire situation today concerning academic freedom sharply contrasts with that which existed during the late 1990s and early 2000s. A few decades ago, at a time when Central Asian […]

Academic Freedom in Tajikistan: a testimony

Introduction by John Heathershaw Limitations on academic freedom occur throughout Central Asia and across much of the world.  However, in some parts of the region these pressures and constraints are worse than others and/or worsening.  One such place is Tajikistan where there are an increasing number of cases of academics being arrested, detained and/or forced to flee […]

Workshop ‘Academic Freedom and Production of Knowledge in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Today’

Saturday 28 October 10 am-4.30 pm Venue: Lecture Theatre 1-2, IAIS, University of Exeter The aim of the workshop is to discuss the issues of academic freedom, academic professions, and the production of knowledge in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia today. Examining the current situation, we will also take a historical perspective. […]

An Open Letter to the ICG from 23 scholars of Islam and Politics in Central Asia

An Open Letter Concerning the International Crisis Group’s Reporting of Islamic Radicalization in Central Asia On October 3, 2016, the International Crisis Group (ICG), an influential independent research organization, released another report on Islamic radicalization in Central Asia. The report—Kyrgyzstan: State Fragility and Radicalisation—follows previous publications on Tajikistan (2016, 2011, 2009) and Kyrgyzstan (2015, 2009) […]

‘Friend’ or ‘foreign agent’? On the limits of field research in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan

Guest post by Philipp Lottholz and Joshua Meyer With the summer season and field trips to Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries approaching, many will find themselves busy preparing their trips, getting their ethical approval, and figuring out how they are going to collect the data they are hoping for. Strategies for approaching interlocutors and […]

Researchers at Risk: Debating the Dilemmas of Research in Authoritarian Societies

Marking the 100th day since the arrest of Alexander Sodiqov in Khorog, Tajikistan, staff and students in the Universities of Exeter, Sciences Po and Toronto met to debate the wider implications for conducting fieldwork in potentially dangerous or rapidly changing societies. On 16th June 2014, Sodiqov, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, was […]