Ongoing Research Projects

Mapping Kazan

The Russian city of Kazan provides an excellent opportunity to examine the historical complexities of city life and empire in the presence of vibrant ethnic and religious diversity. Kazan's large Muslim Tatar community preserved many aspects of Turkic language and culture, while also being active participants in the life of Kazan and the Russian Empire.

The Mapping Kazan project seeks to explore Kazan and its built environment spatially, to help better separate the illusions from the realities regarding confessional, social and gender divisions in Kazan in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and how they shaped city life.

Email Eric Johnson ( to find out more about the project.

The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia

This internationally-recognized blog written by UW PhD Candidate, Darren Byler with Uyghur, Kazakh and Han collaborators, analyzes the anthropology of space, translocal cultural resilience and change, as expressedthrough the visual, material culture and the built environment in Northwest China and Central Asia. By focusing on the Uyghur and Han art communities of Ürümchi, "The Art of Life" attempts to show the complex ways through which differently positioned artists, film-makers, writers, musicians, and poets represent “being Chinese” in the desert and mountain landscapes of China’s Central Asian frontier.The general aim of the site is to recognize and create dialogue around the ways minority people create a durable existence and, in turn, how these voices from the margins link us together in simultaneously distinctive and connected ways.

Follow the blog on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on popular culture and criticism in Chinese Central Asia!

Selected Texts

The Annotated Bibliography of Islam in Central Asia

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