Well, I finally put aside some time to get around Kazakhstan’s internet block on WordPress (the platform I use for this blog). I’m not in Kazakhstan, but here in Kyrgyzstan the internet is provided by Kazakh companies. I guess there were a couple of blogs that bothered the government so they just decided to just block all blog platforms.
Anyways, I’m currently teaching and researching at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. I teach a class on ‘Politics and Security in Central Asia’ for 30 MA students. Teaching just one class gives me time for my research, which is on the “Afghanistan factor” in Central Asia. Basically, does Afghanistan matter to the post-Soviet countries of Central Asia? It’s a security-centric study, and I hope to dedicate the next two years to it. I want to include a detailed social and historical context for the study, and that takes time.
I’m heading back to Australia at the end of this semester and then on to Tajikistan, hopefully for 6 months. I’ll be in Dushanbe for a two month stint and then on to the southern Vakhsh Valley near the Afghan border. After that, I’m not sure. But all my applications for postdoctoral fellowships for fall 2012 include research project proposals geared towards connecting Afghanistan to Central Asia.
My first publication on this theme should be out by next spring, and be focused on northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, the IMU, Russia and the US in Central Asia, etc… In other publication news, I turned some old background work on secondary sources into a historical comparative study. The article is “in press,” but it’s available for download:
“State-building, migration and economic development on the frontiers of northern Afghanistan and southern Tajikistan,” Journal of Eurasian Studies. Download PDF.
My future publications will obviously be much more oriented to current issues… However, I’m also working on some long term projects: a book on the Uzbeks (Uzbekistan and Uzbeks outside the country) with a co-author and a book on Tajikistan post-independence. I know, I know – pity the poor publisher that has to read drafts of those books. Hopefully any future book on Afghanistan and Central Asia will be somewhat more marketable.
As for Afghanistan, my focus is strongly back on the north…. like it was six years ago.
Nothing else to say. So here’s a picture of Kyrgyzstan from a recent road trip: