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Cambridge Central Asia Forum


‘Russian Orientalism through Art Production & Education’

Conference: 8-9 November 2014

Hosted by Cambridge Central Asia Forum & Centre for Development Studies, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Conveners:  Aliya de Tiesenhausen, Inessa Kouteinikova, S.S. Saxena, Prajakti Kalra

Call for Papers: >From the beginning of the Tsarist Russian advance into the territory of present day Central Asia in the 1850s, Russian intellectuals and artists portrayed the Asian other in particular ways. The representations by artists beginning from the latter half of the 19th century when the Khanates of Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand became part of the Russian Empire have persisted over time. The Turkestan Governor-General (1865-1920) and later, during its formative years, the Soviet government played a significant role in sustaining the orientalisation processes in Central Asian territories officially through the means of art instruction and institutions of art.


This conference aims to look at the beginnings of Orientalising Central Asians in the 1850s and evolution of this sentiment and particularly its use in the colonial agenda of the Russian Empire and later transformation during the Soviet Union in the making of the five Central Asian states in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The images of the Asian other have persisted not only in the region but have coloured the perception of modern day citizens of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in a much broader context.


In addressing the period of formation of Central Asian art production, this conference aims to broaden the parameters art and craft education in relation to economic and social processes in the region.


We invite authors to present their views on the ways of seeing different forms of Central Asian art and art production outside of a limited framework or purely aesthetic history of fine arts.


The conference will include keynote addresses and several interdisciplinary panels. We expect the publication of only selected papers (selected authors will be notified shortly after the conference). At this stage unfortunately we are unable to provide travel bursaries and participants are responsible for covering their own costs for travel and accommodation. Conference participants may apply for additional funding from their universities, international organisations or other sponsors. Cost for visa arrangements will also have to be covered by attendees, the organisers intend on providing invitation letters for visa purposes as soon as possible after the deadline for the submission for abstracts, however it is a responsibility of the attendee to arrange the visa on time.



Saturday, 8 November, 2014 - 09:00 to Sunday, 9 November, 2014 - 18:00
Contact name: 
Prajakti Kalra
Contact email: 
Event location: 
Alison Richard Building