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CANCELLED: The Rise of Islamist Movements in Central Asia

April 9, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

Kathleen A. Collins, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota

Location: 206 Ingraham Hall

What explains the emergence of Islamism as the basis of political opposition in Central Asia? The Soviet/post-Soviet Central Asian region has witnessed three waves of Islamism: the 1980s-early 90s, the later 1990s-2000s, and most recently, from 2013-19. While no Islamist movement has taken control of a Central Asian state, the very existence of Islamism in this region has been a surprise to many, who expected that Soviet development of the region had transformed Islam into culture and ethnicity, and effectively depoliticized religion. The talk will examine the roots and process of the politicization of Islam in each successive wave, with a particular focus on the third wave, which involves Central Asians in the transnational foreign fighter Islamist movement in Syria and Iraq. The talk will also examine how Central Asian Islamist movements manage to develop some societal support, despite state surveillance and repression and a highly fearful and skeptical society.

Kathleen A. Collins is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, February 2006), which won the Central Eurasia Studies Society Book Award for Social Sciences. She has published articles on challenges to democratization and economic reform, political Islam in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and religious repression in various journals and edited volumes, including Comparative Politics, World Politics, the Journal of Democracy, Europe-Asia Studies, Political Research Quarterly, the Brown Journal of International Affairs, and Asia Policy. She is currently writing two new books, tentatively titled: The Rise of Islamist Politics: The Emergence, Mobilization, and Limits of Islamist Movements in Central Asia (under contract, Cambridge University Press), and Muslim Politics: Islam, Politics, and Public Opinion in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. Collins has received grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the MacArthur Foundation, the Kellogg Institute, the United States Institute of Peace, the Templeton Foundation, IREX, and NCEEER, among others. She has done consulting for ICG, the UNDP, NBR, USAID, Freedom House, and other organizations


April 9, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA)
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