Central Asian Survey History

For the last forty years, Central Asian Survey has been dedicated to the study of the history, politics, cultures, religions and economics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, enhancing understanding of local and regional change. Here is the story of the journal’s evolution:

Early Discussions
The first cover of Central Asian Survey (1982)
Early discussions began in the 1970s among scholars at the Soviet Nationalities Seminar at the University of Chicago under the tutelage of pioneer Alexandre Bennigsen (1913-1988), a scholar of Soviet Islam and its communities.
The Launch of Central Asian Survey with S. Enders Wimbush (Editor from 1982 to 1986)
Green cover of journal
The journal was later born out of a dedicated forum in the early 1980s which was focussed on the broad study of Central Asia and not just a Russian/Soviet angle. 
 The first ever issue of Central Asian Survey was published in 1982 with a prominent academic and defence/security strategist at the helm as Editor, S Enders Wimbush.
Sufism in Central Asia
Central Asian Survey publishes its first special issue titled “Sufism in Central Asia” looking at Sufism, an introspective religious practice found within Islam, and its role within the regions of the Soviet Union, Iran, and Afghanistan.
Marie Bennigsen Broxup (Editor from 1987 to 2006)
For almost a quarter of a century, Marie Bennigsen Broxup, an expert on the Caucasus and Central Asia, edited the journal. She was an academic, activist and pioneer in research of Muslim communities in the area and a strong advocate for the people of Chechnya.
Marie broadened the scope of the journal outside Europe and the US by soliciting contributions from Turkey, China, India, Japan and elsewhere.
1989 – 1991
Fall of the Berlin Wall and End of the Cold War
In 1991, a momentous event in world history happened — the Soviet Union broke up on 26 December 1991. After the collapse, academic archives within the region became accessible.
Central Asian Survey Goes Online
In 1997, all articles were archived into a digital library. View them online on the publisher, Taylor & Francis website.
War in Afghanistan
The United States invaded Afghanistan in September of 2001. Hafizullah Emadis piece, written prior to the US invasion, titled Radical political movements in Afghanistan and their politics of peoples’ empowerment and liberation is published in the 2001 edition which includes the preface Focus on Afghanistan.
Anthony Hyman Memorial Lecture Established
The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) London, established an annual event with speakers including M. Masoom Stanekzai (former Minister of Communication, Government of Afghanistan), Nancy Hatch Dupree (an American historian) and Jonathan Steele (Author/ International affairs columnist).
Anthony Hyman (1946 -1999) was an expert on Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia, and a commentator for the BBC World Service for more than twenty years.
Deniz Kandiyoti (Editor from 2006 to 2015)
Turkish-born academic, Professor Deniz Kandiyoti, based at SOAS in London,  became Editor in 2006.
She is an expert on gender and development studies in Turkey and post-Soviet Central Asia.
Russo-Georgian War
An intense five day war between Russia and Georgia broke out in August of 2008. 
Central Asian Survey published a special issue on the war in 2009 titled ‘Georgia Ablaze: War and Revolution in the Caucasus’.
Special Issue: The Afghan Conundrum
Central Asian Survey publishes a special issue titled “The Afghan Conundrum: Intervention, Statebuilding and Resistance.
 A talk was also held at SOAS including speakers Aziz Hakimi (SOAS) Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS) and was chaired by Professor Magnus Marsden (University of Sussex). Watch the discussion.
Alexander Morrison (Associate Editor)
Associate Editor of the journal, Alexander Morrison, based at the University of Oxford, UK, and an historian of empire and colonial warfare curates a special issue, The Russian conquest of Central Asia.
Central Asian Survey on Twitter
Central Asian Survey launches its Twitter profile and further developed its online presence in the mid 2010s.
Irene Hilgers Memorial Prize
A prize dedicated to the memory and scholarly achievements of Irene Hilgers, a German scholar of Uzbekistan, was set up in 2015. She died tragically young in 2008, shortly before completing her doctoral dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany. The prize celebrates the work of early-career scholars in the field.
Her dissertation was published posthumously as ‘Why Do Uzbeks Have to be Muslims? Exploring Religiosity in the Ferghana Valley’. A collection of papers from the prize winners is available online.
Madeleine Reeves (Editor from 2016 to 2019)
A social anthropologist with an interest in migration and borders, Madeleine Reeves is Professor in the Anthropology of Migration at the University of Oxford, and served as Editor in the late 2010s. 
In a thought-provoking article in 2011, she explores everyday life and the gendered nature of migration in Uzbekistan, looking at the experiences of those who stay put (typically women).
Rico Isaacs (Editor 2019 to present)
Rico Isaacs, Professor of International Politics at the University of Lincoln, UK, is the current Editor. His work focuses on political institutions and nation-building in Central Asia.
Conflict in Xinjiang
An important Special Issue which examined insecurity, internment and conflict in Xinjiang, a large central-Asian region within China, where more than a million Muslims are arbitrarily detained, was published in early 2019. The open-access paper has gained over 25,000 views, making it one of Central Asian Survey’s most read articles.
Art’s Role in Societal Change
In 2021, CAS published a unique special issue exploring the social role that the art and cultural scene plays in society, and the issues raised by cultural production and the shape it could take. Contributions covered performance, architecture, music, dancing, architecture and literature.
30 years of Central Asian Studies – A Special Issue
A special issue edited by Erica Marat, (an Associate Professor at the National Defense University, USA), featured both senior and early career scholars and many voices from the region as they collectively sought to reflect on the development of Central Asian studies over the last thirty years, but also posed some important critical challenges for the future
Climate Change in Central Asia
One of the most popular and downloaded CAS articles of all time, ‘A void in Central Asia research: climate change’, was published in 2022, which assesses the extent to which the academic community engaged with climate change in Central Asia between 1991 and 2021.
Four decades of Central Asian Survey (CAS)
Cover of Critical Reader Central Asian Survey
A Critical Reader in Central Asian Studies is published for the journal’s 40th anniversary. Curated by Rico Isaacs, the reader is a celebration of the journal and a critical reflection of Central Asian studies over time. Watch the Critical Reader Launch video.
Cats in CAS
One of the journal’s most popular articles was published in 2023, The cat in Mongolian society: a good, bad and ugly animal’, which explores the symbolism and cultural significance that Mongols bestow on cats and how it has changed throughout Mongolian history.
Jasmin Dall’Agnola joins as Associate Editor
Jasmin Dall’Agnola, from George Washington University, USA, joins as Associate Editor. She has a research interest in the relationship between gender, technology and surveillance in authoritarian societies. Jasmin is a short-form content editor, curating ‘Research Notes’ as a new paper type.
Two New Book Review Editors Appointed
The journal also publishes several book reviews every year, including those written in regional or other global languages,so as to further disseminate knowledge about the area. 
Two new Editors joined the editorial team in 2023, Zhanibek Arynov of Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan and Philipp Lottholz  of University of Marburg, Germany.
Launch of Global Souths Hub
TWQ and CAS team up to curate an independent news and blog site, Global Souths Hub to further strengthen the study and amplify the voices of Global South scholarship.  Explore CAS latest news and more.