Seminar announcement: Irna Hofman on Chinese Farms in Tajikistan

We would like to invite all students, faculty and colleagues to a paper in the SHSS seminar series.

Irna Hofman (Leiden University, Institute of Asian Studies) will be presenting on Politics or profits along the “Silk Road”. What drives and thrives Chinese farms in Tajikistan?

The Seminar will be at 4pm on Monday 11th April 2016 in Room 8.307 at Nazarbayev University.


New geopolitical dynamics and the search for natural resources such as land accompany the rise of the BRICS countries in the global arena. In this paper I discuss the case of Chinese agricultural land investments in the Central Asian state of Tajikistan. Stemming from a Soviet past, Tajikistan seems to be on the way to becoming one of China’s satellite states. Over the last five years Chinese engagement in Tajikistan has become increasingly diversified. It now includes land and agriculture, which points to the multifaceted drivers behind China’s presence in the neighbouring Tajik republic. I thus use Tajikistan to explore the nature and drivers of Chinese land acquisitions in Central Asia, a region that has been regaining global attention since the past few years. This raises more widely applicable insights into the various, and I would argue, often competing factors driving China’s foreign land rush.


Irna Hofman is a Ph.D. researcher at Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) and affiliated to the ISS in the Hague through her supervisor Oane Visser. She holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Rural Development Sociology. Her current work and interests are focused on agrarian and social change, rural sociology and transition economies. She has conducted research in rural Uzbekistan and currently works on her Ph.D. research on post-Soviet agrarian change in Tajikistan. Chinese agricultural land investments and Chinese presence in Tajikistan and broader Central Asia are also part of her study, for which she recently organised a small conference on ‘Encounters after the Soviet collapse: Chinese presence in the former Soviet Union border zone’.

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