Wednesday, 24 September 2014

British Council Workshop on Environmental History, Astana, Kazakhstan, 3-6 Jan 2015


Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan

3-6 January 2015

Organisers: Dr Beatrice Penati (Nazarbayev University) and
Prof. David Moon (York University, UK)

We invite applications from EARLY-CAREER SCHOLARS (up to 10 years from Ph.D./Kandidat nauk) at Kazakh and UK Universities to take part in a Workshop on

Kazakhstan’s Environmental Challenges in a Eurasian and Global Perspective

We welcome proposals on both the environmental history of Kazakhstan and on Eurasia and other parts of the Globe for purposes of comparison.

UK participants are very welcome to present research on other regions of the globe.

The programme includes panels, keynote lectures, a networking session, advice on professional development and research funding, and a documentary film night.

Successful applicants’ expenses (travel, accommodation, subsistence) will be paid by the British Council.

(The working language will be English.)


Please send (all in English):

o A letter explaining your motivation to participate (one page)
o A CV, with degrees, employment, publications, conference papers (two pages)
o An abstract of your presentation at the workshop (500-700 words)

to, by 31 October 2014

We aim to notify successful applicants by 7 November 2014

For further information, please contact us by email:



Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, 3-6 January 2015

Kazakhstan’s Environmental Challenges in a Eurasian and Global Perspective.

The workshop will address the theme of the environmental challenges facing Kazakhstan in a historical and a wider comparative framework, encompassing perspectives from elsewhere in Eurasia (broadly defined) and the world at large.

The economy of Kazakhstan has been growing rapidly for the past decade. This economic growth, as well as related social phenomena (in particular urbanization, energy consumption, waste production) is posing new challenges for the environment. Similarly, the country is coping with the heavy heritage of environmental issues having emerged in the Soviet period, such as the consequences of nuclear experiments in Semipalatinsk, or the desiccation of the Aral Sea, and the desertification of parts of the steppe as a result of over-grazing and incautious cultivation. In many cases, these issues transcend national frontiers and should be better apprehended in a Eurasian and global perspective.

There is a disproportion between the scale of these problems and the status of Environmental History as a discipline in Kazakhstan. While the gravity of present challenges would suggest the need for historical depth in the study of the interaction between human society and the environment in such a fragile context such as the semi-arid steppe region, in mainstream Environmental History the study of Central Eurasia has so far remained the appanage of scholars outside Kazakhstan.

To bridge this gap, this workshop will offer a "hands-on" experience of what contemporary Environmental History is. It will bring together leading specialists from both Kazakhstan and the UK together with early-career scholars based in the UK and their Kazakhstani counterparts, so that the latter can become acquainted with current research agendas in global and transnational Environmental History. At the same time, the UK-based scholars can develop a better knowledge of the Central Asia's own historical specificities.

The workshop will use peer-review sessions to ensure both the consolidation of a discipline-specific sensitivity and the emergence of research plans that are open to the comparison between Kazakhstan, the rest of Eurasia, and other parts of the world. Participation is limited to 13 UK-based and 13 Kazakhstan-based early-career scholars (10 years from Ph.D./Kandidate nauk)

Keynote speakers include: Dr Beatrice Penati (Nazarbayev University, Astana); Prof. David Moon (York University, UK); Dr Jonathan Oldfield (Birmingham University, UK); and Dr Renato Sala (Kazakhstan National University, Almaty).

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