Conference Announcement: Eurasian Migration, Past & Present. 18-19 May 2017

Eurasian Migration, Past & Present – Living Cross-Cultural Lives

18-19 May, 2017

Nazarbayev University

Block C3, Room 1010

Dungans in the village of Karakunuz (modern-day Masanchi), 1909. Source:


May 18:

9.30: Opening statements/welcome, Block C3, Room 1010

Panel 1

10.00-12.00: Living and Working in Places of Settlement

Chair: Zohra Ismail Beben, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Caress Schenk, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)


Michaela Pohl, Vassar College (US)

In the Streets of the Virgin Lands/Na ulitsakh tseliny

Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester (UK)

Out of Synch? Labor, Time, and Deportability in Moscow’s Migrant Economy

Rano Turaeva, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany)

Migrant communities and Mosques in Moscow

Sergey Ryazantsev, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Science (Russia)

Migrants from East and Southeast Asia on the Russian labour market

12.00-13.30: Lunch break

Panel 2

13.30-15.15: Living Betwixt and Between

Chair: Gwen McEvoy, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Alima Bissenova, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)


Elena Borisova, University of Manchester (UK)

Being immobile at a time of mass migration: labour migrants with re-entry bans in northern Tajikistan

Igor Savin, South-Kazakhstan State University and Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

Main tendencies of return migration from Central Asia to Kazakhstan [Основные тенденции возвратной миграции из Центральной Азии в Казахстан] (in Russian)

Irina Kuznetsova, University of Birmingham (UK)

Refugees from Eastern Ukraine in Russia: experiences, policies and discourse in the context of forced migration from the Ukraine conflict

15.15-15.45: Coffee break

Panel 3

15:45-17:30: The Impact and Legacies of ‘Hard’ Borders in the USSR

Chair: Kris Rees, Indiana University East

Discussant: Alexander Morrison, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)


Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University (Canada)

Our House is/was the Soviet Union: Migration, Internal Borders and Identity in the late USSR

Alima Bissenova, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

“Songy Kosh” (Last Migration) – Mass Sino-Soviet Migration of Kazakhs from 1955 to 1962

Jeremy Smith, University of Eastern Finland

Stranded migrants: the break-up of the USSR and the impact of new international borders on national minorities

Kazakhstan is also becoming a destination for migrant workers. Source:из-россии-в-казахстан-трудовая-миграц.html

May 19

Panel 4

9.00-10.45: Navigating home: Migrants and Sending Countries

Chair: Aziz Burkhanov, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester (UK)


Ted Gerber, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US)

Labor migrant experiences in Russia: Views from back home

Helene Thibault, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Polygyny in the context of Tajik labour migration

Malika Tukmadieva, Independent Scholar (Kazakhstan)

Curse or Blessing? Official Rhetoric on Emigration in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

10.45-11.15: Coffee Break

Panel 5

11.15-13.00: Migrants and the Host State

Chair: Maja Savevska, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Ted Gerber, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US)


Emil Nasretdinov, The American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan)

The Effect of Kyrgyzstan’s Accession to EEU on the Life of Kyrgyz Migrants in Moscow

Irina Chernikh, Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies

Ethnic Immigration in Kazakhstan: Regional Specificities, Dynamic, Model of adaptation

Caress Schenk, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Does Corruption Increase Opportunities for Migrants in Eurasia?

13.00-14.00: Lunch break

Panel 6

14.00-15.45: Migrants and the Host Society

Chair: Caress Schenk, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University (Canada)


Alexander Morrison, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

On Dunganskaya Street – Colonial Vernyi as a plural society

Elena Sadovskaya, Center for Conflict Management (Kazakhstan)

Rise of anti-Chinese sentiments in Kazakhstan in the context of land lease to China in 2016: background, dynamics and prospects

Natalya Kosmarskaya, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia)

Exploring Regional Specifics of Everyday Xenophobia in Russia: Case-Study of Moscow and Krasnodar

15.45-16.00: Coffee Break

Panel 7

16.00-17.45: Crossing Borders: the Logistics of Mobility in a World of Changing Borders

Chair: Helene Thibault, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: John Schoeberlein, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)


Olga Tkach, Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg (Russia)

The Unbearable Lightness of the Finnish Schengen: Visa Strategies of Russian Visitors to Finland

Natalya Zotova, The Ohio State University (US)

Russia’s “Stop-List” and Central Asian Migrants: New Dimensions of Human Insecurity

Sergei Abashin , European University of St Petersburg (Russia)

Crisis, circular migration, and returning home: migrants between Russia and Central Asia (in Russian)

All Welcome!

Viva-voce examinations – Wed 10th May

On Wednesday 10th May from 15.00 two students from the MA in Eurasian Studies will be defending their theses in a viva-voce examination. The vivas are public and all are welcome to attend.

Room 8.322B, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

15.00 – 15.45 Saltanat Boteu

‘The Perception of Volunteering Experiences of Young Volunteers in Kazakhstan’

This thesis  focuses on volunteering as a modern phenomenon that has emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union in Kazakhstan. The volunteering phenomenon has been neglected by social science research in Kazakhstan. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate the emergence of volunteering as a new unexplored social process. Particularly, I explore how perceptions of young volunteers form during their volunteering experience, that helps to understand the position of volunteer in Kazakhstani society. This thesis heavily relies on interviews with volunteers and key informants. In addition, I review the laws of Kazakhstan related to non-governmental and non-profit sector that indirectly touches upon volunteering and the recent Draft Law on volunteering (June 16, 2015). The thesis includes the opinions of experts, volunteers and government representatives on volunteers’ position and volunteering phenomenon in Kazakhstan. I explored the notion of volunteering in Kazakhstan, the opinions of participants on their motivations and the benefits from volunteering, the main issues that influence perception and motivation of volunteers in relationships with other actors (society, the state, volunteering organisation). The contribution of the study is the model of the relationships of volunteers with other actors, illustrating how the relationship between volunteers and the state, society and volunteering organisations are important for the volunteering sphere overall.

Internal advisers: Sofiya An & Zbigniew Wojnowski
External adviser: Professor Azamat Junisbai, Pitzer College

15.45 – 16.30 Aliya Tazhibayeva

‘The Internationalisation of Higher Education in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan: State Policies and Institutional Practices?’

This thesis deals with the interpretation and implementation of the internationalisation of higher education in Kazakhstan at national and institutional levels. The goal of the study is to find out how internationalisation of higher education is defined in the national policy documentation and in universities’ development strategies on education, how that interpretation is similar/different to those appearing in academic literature, and how it is reflected in the universities’ practices of internationalisation. As the research results illustrate, national and state higher education institutions in Kazakhstan are dependent on state policies in terms of internationalisation, though some freedom is given to universities in academic mobility and international cooperation, and limited by governmental funding for internationalisation activities. Kazakhstani universities plan and implement only the feasible elements of internationalisation, thus minimising the risk of failure.

Internal Advisers: Sofiya An & Jack Lee (GSE)

External Adviser: Professor Martha Merrill, Kent State University