AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 581

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Session 581: Roundtable: Multilateralism in Eurasia: Historical Antecedents and Future Prospects

Organizer: Shailaja Fennell, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Discussants: Prajakti Kalra, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Mirzohid Rahimov, Independent Scholar, Uzbekistan; Timur Dadabaev, University of Tsukuba, Japan; Zifa Alua Auezova, Independent Scholar, Netherlands; Siddharth Saxena, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Stephen R. Fennell, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

It is now two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union resulting in the arrival of fifteen newly independent countries, including the new region of Central Asia, onto the world stage. During this period the external perception was that these newcomers had no prior knowledge of the world economy or previous experience of economic, political and social exchanges with other nations. The policy prescriptions for Central Asia were consequently couched in terms of admittance to the western world; incorporation to international organisations; transition from socialism to capitalism; and transferring from public to private ownership. This perceptive was blatantly lacking in any recognition that the region of Central Asia, and its constituent countries, had arrived on the world stage with a rich set of historical, social, linguistic and cultural experiences of their own. This roundtable will bring together leading scholars of and key diplomatic figures from the region to provide a convivial space within which to draw out the longstanding interactions of these countries with the rest of the world. The common perspective that conjoins the contributors is that the people and leaders of Central Asia are bearers of knowledge of multilateral exchanges that cannot be accessed by external templates. The roundtable will discuss a range from: the cultural and linguistic exchange, trade and economic arrangements, governance and political strategies with long roots from history and with strong shoots reaching into the current century. Contributors will show that multilateral linkages uncovered in the countries of Central Asia have emerged from undertaking inter-disciplinary and cross-boundary approaches.