Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus

«Central Eurasian Studies World Wide»

Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University



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Discussion List on Anthropology of the Former Soviet Bloc

| «CESWW» is sponsored by the Harvard Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus |

Contents of this page:

º AnthEurasia - Statement of Purpose

º AnthEurasia - The Basics

º Subscription 

AnthEurasia - Statement of Purpose

We may be widely scattered, but we have something to talk about -- that is the premise for the AnthEurasia e-mail discussion forum.  Before the Soviet Bloc collapsed, there were few Western anthropologists investigating this part of the world.  We are still few and widely distributed, and there are few opportunities for us to come together to discuss the subject matter which unites us.  But exchange of ideas is what builds strong scholarship -- hence this discussion list.

There is a tendency for scholars of this part of the world to be geographically parochial -- specialists seek out specialists in the study of Russia, Mongolia, Central Asia, the Caucasus (or even just Armenia or Georgia or Azerbaijan or the North Caucasus), the Balkans, Ukraine, Central Europe (or just Hungary, Communist Germany, etc.), and so forth.  Yet common historical experience unifies the region: the old "Second World", the domain of Russian hegemony, the mixing of Orthodoxy and Islam, Slavism and Turkism, and the world of collapsing and reviving Communism, now challenged by democratizing and marketizing imperatives.  We will not be able to grasp these phenomena adequately if our sights are too narrowly focused.

Thus, we introduce this list to facilitate discussion.  Its name is "AnthEurasia" (don't forget to add the "-L" in the address).  We invite you to help give life to this discussion.  If you are not an anthropologist, you may still have something to say on these topics.  Anthropology is a field that is nothing if not open to influences from other fields and from the worlds we investigate.

There is no need to circumscribe discussion on AnthEurasia.  The subject matter will find a logic of its own.  We make it an anthropology
discussion because we anthropologists studying this world feel a need to talk to each another, and there are few places to do so.

Please be respectful.  This list is not moderated, and you can say what you want.  But when list discussions get bogged down in polemics, people get disgusted and leave.  We are bound to have our share of controversy-- let's make it productive.  The discussion thrives best if you give careful thought to you contribution before posting it.  You may find it helpful to read all the new postings on a subject before composing your response, and to read your posting over to ensure it articulates your views well.

Aside from discussion, AnthEurasia can be a useful forum for sharing information about conferences, job or grant opportunities, exciting new literature, etc.

Some of you may have come to this discussion via SOYUZ, an organization with a similar purpose to AnthEurasia -- to bring together people studying anthropological questions in the former Soviet Bloc.  For those who aren't familiar with it: SOYUZ produces a newsletter and a directory of people in this field, organizes informal meetings at conferences such as the AAA and AAASS, and also participates in the yearly Post-Soviet Cultural Studies conference, etc.  We owe much to Bruce Grant, Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Nancy Ries, Cathy Wanner, and others who have provided the energy behind this.  Anyone wanting to know more about SOYUZ should contact Bruce Grant at <bgrant1(a)>.

We don't have to be a huge group of participants in this list for the discussion to be good. But if you know people whose contributions would benefit our discussion or who would simply derive some comfort from knowing they are not 'alone' in this anthropological wilderness -- please pass on the word.

Finally, a personal word: I, John Schoeberlein, am the 'owner' of this list -- meaning the person who is responsible for the list in practical ways.  I have been wandering around the Bloc since 1980 and have spent ~5 years doing fieldwork in Central Asia.  Being 'owner' of a list doesn't entail too much input, but does require occasional attention to make sure things are working right.  Since I am frequently in Central Asia, I would be grateful for anyone who will volunteer to would willing to sit in on occasion (if you are willing in principle, let me know, and I will tell you more about what it involves).

Though the nature of the discussion list is mainly determined by the culture of participation, I welcome suggestions on what we can do to make AnthEurasia a better forum.

Thank you for your interest!

John Schoeberlein (list owner)
Director, Harvard Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus

AnthEurasia - The Basics

To post a contribution to AnthEurasia, address it to:

To Subscribe to AnthEurasia, submit the form below, or send an e-mail message with the subject "subscribe" to:

Note: After you subscribe to AnthEurasia, you may want to post a note to the list introducing yourself -- your full name, interests, background, affiliation, study program, and the like.  This will enable people with similar interests to contact you, and allow AnthEurasia participants to know something about "where you are coming from" in your contributions to the discussion.

To sign off, send a message with the subject "unsubscribe" to:

...Or, if that method proves unsuccessful, send a message with your request to: centasia(a)

AnthEurasia is sponsored by the Harvard Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus.  It is open to anyone.

List Characteristics:

º Established: 1995

º Current subscribership: ~450 (Nov. 2008)

º Subscription: Open

º Posting: Open to members

º List Owner: John Schoeberlein <centasia(a)>

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«Central Eurasian Studies World Wide» is a project of the
Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University