Call for Papers: Conference “Changing Patterns of Power in Historical and Modern Central and Inner Asia”

Ulaanbaatar University, Mongolia
7th – 9th Aug 2014
Deadline: 9 Jan 2014

We invite the submission of paper abstracts for a three-day international conference organized from 7-9 August 2014 by the International Unit for Central and Inner Asian Studies (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), in collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS, Leiden, the Netherlands), and hosted by Ulaanbaatar University (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia).


About the Conference

The conference aims to highlight the current state of knowledge in research on the history of Central and Inner Asia since the twelfth century until the present day. Taking into account recent developments in historiography questioning any form of epistemological “centrism” (particularly when centred on the Occident), the proposed conference will contribute to the debate on the role and position of Central and Inner Asia during much of the second millennium. In order to achieve our goal of questioning and discussing our present knowledge and understanding, we suggest tracing socio-historical systems and long-term historical legacies.
Understanding various patterns of power in an historical context, including their meanings, concepts and semantics, their competition, appropriation and exchange, as well as institutions and schemes of redistribution, is vital in this respect. We seek to address how patterns of power are reflected in the process of social adaptation, how this process allows former elites to retain their privileged access to resources, material and ideological assets, and how it enables new elite groups to emerge.

We stress the transregional character of communication and exchange of the socio-political concepts and cultures between Central and Inner Asia and other world regions, because patterns of power exercised by the Central and Inner Asian ruling elites have been neither simply imposed by external players, nor generated by the society in isolation.

This Forum aims at bringing together representatives of different disciplines researching various periods of historical and modern Central and Inner Asia, including scholars studying contemporary history of the region. We intend to focus on how diverse groups in Central and Inner Asian societies seeking resources for power
compete(d) for authority through exploiting religion, ethnicity and reinvented traditions, as well as through social mobilisation and network-building.

The geographical scope of the conference is, understandably, large.
We construe Central and Inner Asia to refer to the huge expanse of land from the Urals in the west to beyond Mongolia and deep into modern China in the east. Papers referring to adjoining regions, which shared many of the vicissitudes of Central and Inner Asian history (the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan), will also be considered, if they bear relevance to the understanding of Central and Inner Asia.

Organising academic committee

Prof. Jigjidijn Boldbaatar (Ulaanbaatar); Prof. Choi Key Ho (Ulaanbaatar); Dr. Robert Cutler (Ottawa/Montreal); Ms. Martina van den Haak (Leiden); Prof. Yuki Konagaya (Osaka); Dr. Irina Morozova (Berlin); Dr. Elena Paskaleva (Leiden); Prof. Morris Rossabi (New York); Dr Ainura Turgangazieva (Bishkek); Ms. Tolganai Umbetalieva (Almaty); Dr. Willem Vogelsang (Leiden).

Languages of communication

English, Mongolian and Russian (interpreters will be available).

Submission of proposals

Proposals should be submitted via the conference website, which also provides extra information on the conference. Deadline for submission is 9 January 2014, and authors/panel organisers will be informed by the end of February 2014.


For questions about the conference, please contact Ms Martina van den Haak, IIAS, Leiden, The Netherlands at


– International Unit for Central and Inner Asian Studies (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), for further information please contact
– Ulaanbaatar University (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), for further information please visit
– International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS, Leiden, the Netherlands), for further information please visit

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) is a research and exchange platform based in the university city of Leiden, the Netherlands. IIAS encourages the multidisciplinary and comparative study of Asia and promotes national and international co-operation. It acts as an interface between academic and non-academic partners including cultural, social and policy organisations.


Thomas Voorter
Communications Coordinator
International Institute for Asian Studies





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