Central Asia, known as the home of Tamerlane and the Silk Road, is a crossroads of great cultures and civilizations. In 1991 five nations at the heart of the region—Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan— suddenly became independent. Today they sit strategically between Russia, China, and Iran and hold some of the world’s largest deposits of oil and natural gas. Long-suppressed ethnic identities are finding new expression in language, religion, and occasional civil conflicts.
Civil Society in Central Asia is a pathbreaking collection of essays by scholars and activists that illuminates the social and institutional forces shaping this important region’s future. An appendix provides a guide to projects being carried out by local and international groups.