Inner Asian & Uralic National
Resource Center

School of Global & International Studies College of Arts & Sciences

Kashgar Street

Fall 2017 Newsletter

This newsletter highlights the Fall 2017 activities of the IAUNRC and its associates, as well as future plans. We look forward to sharing even more content with you in our Spring 2018 newsletter.

On the Ground in Kurdistan

A student of Kurdish on doing research in the region

By Ben Priest

Ben and friends

Ben Priest (second from right) in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan along with some new acquaintances

Ben Priest is a graduate student working on Kurdistan and Kurdish nationalism. He is currently in Erbil, Iraq, where there has been unrest as a result of a referendum on independence, conducting dissertation research. The following is a brief summary of his experiences to date:

I’m a PhD candidate in the Islamic Studies program living in Erbil/Hawler, which is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. My dissertation topic is Kurdish Nationalism and Islam, and I’m here to collect data as well as continue my studies in the local languages. Some people get very confused about why I picked Kurdistan, generally considered more secular than its neighbors, as a place to study Islam. My reply to that is that there’s more than meets the eye. Much more, as a matter of fact. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is an autonomous federal region in the north of Iraq. On September 25th, they held a referendum for independence. This vote took place throughout the KRG provinces as well as portions of disputed territories within three Iraqi provinces. Read more here.

From the Editor— Finding Central Asia in Europe:

Eastern Turki Documents in Berlin and Lund

by Michael Krautkraemer

Opening of Baker's Risalah

The ritual prayer begining a Bakers' Risālah (Jarring Collection, University of Lund Library, Prov. 41)

I am going to begin my portion this edition of the newsletter by talking about places that we at the IAUNRC do not generally give much thought. They are neither Inner Asian, nor Uralic by the broadest stretch of the imagination. Rather, they are European and Germanic-speaking and, outside of the rather large immigrant population, appear to have very little to do with anything we do here at the center. However, Berlin and Lund (Sweden) are the home to two very substantial collections of texts from early twentieth century Xinjiang. This past summer, I was fortunate enough to secure funding to take a two month trip to visit both collections and examine what must have been hundreds of manuscripts in Eastern Turki, the immediate predecessor to modern Uyghur and a variant of the common grapholect of Central Asia into the twentieth century, Chaghatay Turkic.

The Hartmann Collection in the Staatsbibliothek was surprisingly easy to access, especially given all of the bureaucracy I had expected. It was quite simple to buy a reader card (17 Euros for a month) and make my way to what is still called the Oriental Reading Room to settle in with documents. I will leave aside the logistics of doing research at the library to focus on the collection itself, but I feel like I should note that it took the better part of the first day just to get on the internet. But arcane wireless system aside, the experience working at the Staatsbibliothek was fantastic.  Read more here.

Video Conferences and Representing the IAUNRC

by Michael Krautkraemer

VC Rig

The video conferencing Setup that allows us to circumvent physical distance

In addition to in-person outreach and education, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center also delivers content via video conference. I find myself having taken on responsibility for handling these video conferences this year and feel it appropriate to say a few words about the experience. Initially, I felt a little like I had just jumped into the deep end of a pool to try to figure out how to swim, but the process has gotten much easier the more that I do it.

We provide all sorts of content. I have given presentations on everything from the history and culture of Tibet, to Central Asian History, to Inner Asian Architecture and talked to people all over the world. Initially organizing the content was a bit challenging, but now I’m able to glide through presentations that can be back to back for an entire working day. Read more here.

Inner Asian Poetry at Ivy Tech

Bringing the Poetry of Inner Asia to the Broader Community

by Michael Krautkraemer

On November 15, 2017, I took a group of four native speakers of Inner Asian languages to the local community college, Ivy Tech, to give a short poetry reading. Our brief, forty-minute time slot was a part of a larger event celebrating poetry in translation, during which poems from all over the world were read in both their original and their English translation. Particularly delightful for me, personally, one of the deans read a selection from Rainer Maria Rilke right on the heels of a short Goethe piece. European languages seemed to be the most common (as one would expect), but we also were treated to some Hafez in the original Persian—a treat for anyone who studies Iran or Persian culture.

The native speakers that I managed to convince to come read for me were Temuujin Nyamdavaa, this year’s Mongolian Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant; Saltanat Karimsattar, the Kazakh language Fulbright Assistant; Alisher Khamidov, the Fulbright recipient from Uzbekistan; and Mirshad Ghalib, a doctoral student in anthropology who is originally from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. Read more here.

Recent Events

2017 Lotus Festival and Lotus in the Park

The festival, now in its 24th year, ran from September 28 through October 1.  This year, the IAUNRC was proud to sponsor performances by two artists: Sahba Motallebi and Naghmeh Farahmand from Iran and Alash from Tuva.

Both groups performed at the Lotus in the Park event, as well. Read more here.


Recent lectures concerning Inner Asian and Uralic regions and topics.

Every year our center is proud to support talks from experts around the world that come to Indiana University to contribute to our rich intellectual community. Please click the links below to go to podcasts for each talk.

November 20, Delgerjargal Uvsh- Resilient in the Face of a Curse? Resource Dependence and Democracy in Mongolia

October 11, Anasasya Astapova- Ferroconcrete Cases, Sausage Migrants, and Santa Barbara

October 9, Monica Ringer- Abassid History as the Future Modern

September 8, Ablet Kamalov- Uyghurs and Russian Borderlands During the Bolshevik Revolution

IAUNRC Outreach

Story Time in a Springville Kindergarten
by Michael Krautkraemer

IAUNRC Graduate Assistant Emily Stranger reads a Persian story to a Springville, IN Kindergarten class

On October 12, 2017, all three of our Graduate Assistants at the IAUNRC set out on a journey on the backroads of southern Indiana (and SR 37) to do outreach at Springville Elementary School. The school is located approximately 45 minutes south of Bloomington and rather than make one person drive there and back alone we decided to do it as a group. The particular outreach event was reading Inner Asian stories to a classroom of kindergarteners. Read more here.

Director's Note
Edward Lazzerini Dr. Edward Lazzerini

As 2017 draws to a close, the IAUNRC is reaching the end of the 2014-2018 cycle for its most recent Title VI award. While we still await directions from Washington as to mandates and priorities for us to address in the planning of our new proposal, word is that requirements will not likely change to any significant degree. In the meantime, the hard-working staff of the NRC has begun preparation for the next round of competition, scheduled for early in the new year, by gathering the required numerical and textual data.

Since September, the usual activities of the Center have continued apace, involving ever more video-conferences to schools across the country, direct outreach to local schools, support for visiting scholars, collaboration with minority-serving institutions and junior colleges, and close work with the multiple area studies centers that IU sustains. Over the next eight months, we look forward to a successful completion of our current grant and an equally successful competition for 2018-2022.



When permitted by the speaker or performers, the IAUNRC records lectures, concerts, and performances that it supports so that they may be made available online as a learning resource for the public. In addition to several Fall 2017 lectures we have featured in this newsletter, you can hear past recordings by visiting our website

Resources for Partner Institutions

The IAUNRC is dedicated to working with partner institutions to develop long-term and sustainable relationships. The Center can provide videoconferences, targeted teaching materials, and funding for travel to interested institutions. To learn more about what the IAUNRC can do for your institution, click here.

Upcoming Event:
Revisiting the History and Historiography of Mughal Pluralism

On November 30, Rajiv Kinra from Northwestern University will be giving a talk entitled "Revisiting the History and Historiography of Mughal Pluralism." The talk is free and open to the public; it is sponsored by Dhar India Studies. For more information click here.

2017-2018 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants

This year, the Department of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS) has welcomed six Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs). The FLTA program is sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The program gives instructors of English as a Second Language the opportunity to strengthen their teaching skills at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. In addition to teaching their native languages, FLTAs are given the opportunity to take university level classes of their choosing.  This year’s FLTAs are native speakers of Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish, Mongolian, and Pashto. To read more about our Uzbek and Mongolian FLTAs, please click on the following links:

Uzbek FLTA Alisher Khamidov

Mongolian FLTA Temuujin Nyamdavaa

Interviews with the remaining FLTAs will be available in our Spring newsletter, or check out the IAUNRC website in January for updates.

Editor: Michael Krautkraemer

Limestone relief
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