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2008 Roundtable on Post-Communism

Islam Communism

"Islam and post-Communism"

March 27 - 28

Prepatory Reading Material:


Public Roundtable:
Thursday, March 27, 2008
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Dogwood Room IMU
Chair: Gardner Bovingdon, Indiana University Central Eurasian Studies
Nazif Shahrani, IU Anthropology
Abdulkader Sinno, IU Political Science
Kevin Jaques, IU Religious Studies

Follow-up faculty-grad student seminar:
Friday, March 28, 2008
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Dogwood Room IMU

Download the flyer.


A public roundtable is featured on Thursday afternoon with a follow-up working session on Friday for faculty and graduate students. The roundtable focuses on a question that is circulated in advance to the roundtable panelists. Each panelist prepares a 1000-word statement in response to a brief (150-200 word) “provocation”—a statement and series of questions. This question and brief initial responses by each panelist are posted in advance, so that all who attend the roundtable are familiar with the core question and the positions of the panelists. At the Roundtable, on the Thursday afternoon panel, the chair will introduce the themes and questions of the panel, the participants, and will then ask two commentators to speak for 10-15 minutes, after which each panel presenter will have 10 minutes to address the questions posed by the commentator and to comment on other papers on that panel. Our practice is to designate as commentators scholars who can broaden the multidisciplinary and comparative reach of the panel rather than people who replicate the expertise of the three main panelists. After this the floor is open for discussion. To encourage continued discussion of these themes in a more informal fashion, we continue the Roundtable on Friday morning. At this session we will ask one of the organizers to summarize the issues raised on Thursday afternoon and then invite the audience to make comments or ask questions of the panelists, allowing for several sets of questions and comments before returning to the main guests. In the past this format has ensured lively participation by our attendees, our graduate students in particular.

Biographical Information About Speakers:

Zaindi Choltaev, Chechen Political Activist
Zaindi Choltaev, a Chechen political activist, is a member of the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) - State Duma Joint Working Group for Chechen Settlement, and assists with the coordinating council of the Peace Mission in the Northern Caucasus. In 1992, he served as the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Chechen Republic, and from 1994-1995, was Chair of the Administration in the Provisional State Council of the Chechen Republic. In 1996, he resigned from the Chechen government, citing his disagreement with its domestic and foreign policies involving human rights violations, and refused to participate in the elections of that year. Choltaev later rejected an offer to join the Administration of the Chechen Republic created by the Russian government in 2000. He spent the academic year 2002 to 2003 in Washington as the visiting Galina Starovoitova Fellow at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.

Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College

Edmund Waite, University of London
Edmund Waite is currently a researcher at the School of Lifelong Education and International Development, Institute of Education, London University. He has a background in the anthropological study of Islam as well as in applied research on education in the UK and Central Asia. His PhD in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, based on 15 months fieldwork conducted in the Uyghur language in the mid-1990s, focused on the impact of the state in shaping religious practices amongst Uyghurs in Kashgar, Xinjiang, China. He has subsequently carried out post-doctoral fieldwork in 2003 and 2004 on the growth of trans-national religious influences on Xinjiang. Edmund Waite’s publications on the Uyghurs include articles published in 2006 on religious knowledge and authority in Kashgar (Central Asian Survey) and attitudes to Sufism (Inner Asia). He has recently submitted a monograph for publication with Routledge entitled ‘Muslims on the Edge of China: religious knowledge and authority amongst the Uyghurs of Xinjiang’.


Indiana University Russian and East European Institute, Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, Center for the Study of Global Change, East Asian Studies Center, Department of Anthropology, Department of Sociology, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, European Union Center of Excellence and Office of International Programs