Croosing Boundaries: Merging Eurasian Insights with the Study of Afghanistan
Targeting graduate students and young scholars, this workshop explored the still relatively unknown political, social, economic, and cultural interactions between Eurasia and Afghanistan, in particular, possible linkages between studies of Afghanistan and the Central Asian regions of Eurasia. In July of 2012, the international community pledged $16 billion in aid over the next three years to assist with reconstruction and stabilization in Afghanistan. Persistent civil unrest, interethnic hostilities, a collapsed economic system, and corruption raise serious questions concerning Afghan stability and security. Can studies of social, cultural, and political change in Central Asia inform our understanding of the challenges facing Afghanistan over the coming decade? How might an improved understanding of sociopolitical change in Afghanistan contribute to our understanding of Eurasia generally and Central Asia specifically? “Crossing Boundaries” convened junior scholars interested in exploring the linkages between Central Asia and Afghanistan for an intensive workshop led by a group of interdisciplinary senior scholars. We welcomed scholars with a specific research focus on Eurasia with an interest in exploring the broader implications of their research in relation to Afghanistan, and scholars working on themes that cut across Afghanistan and Eurasia. The meeting provided opportunities to discuss current work, develop ideas for future projects, and solicit feedback from, and network with, fellow scholars interested in merging the study of Eurasia with that of Afghanistan. Professionalization sessions covering data availability, publishing strategies, grant writing, and navigating the job market were also included.