Central Asia: index of articles by Nick Megoran

2014

-'Migration and peace: the transnational activities of Bukharan Jews'
The study of mobilities commonly takes place on the intellectual terrain set by those who would see migration as a source of potential conflict and a problem to be managed. But isn't it also the case that migration can be productive of peace and richer coexistence? This is exampled by a study of the interactions of Uzbekistani Muslim and (Bukharan) Jewish transnational actors. The transnational activities of Bukharan Jewish emigres to Israel has contributed to personal transformation in the attitude to inter-ethnic/inter-faith relations of one of Uzbekistan's most significant Muslim cultural figures, singer Sherali Juraev. It is argued that whereas political geographers commonly study migration through the lens of conflict, it can also be productive of more peaceful and mutually enriching human coexistence. At the same time, the ability of Central Asian Jews to migrate to live in Israel when previous Arab inhabitants have been expelled is also a reminder that 'peace' is always political, 'for' someone at someone else's expense.
Published in in McConnell, F., Megoran, N. and Williams, P. (eds.) Geographies of Peace. London: I.B. Tauris.n: I.B. Tauris: 212-228.

- (with Elmira Satybaldieva, David Lewis, and John Heathershaw) Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Projects in Southern Kyrgyzstan. and
Evaluating Peacebuilding Interventions in Kyrgyzstan: Two reports that offer critical interrogations of western-backed donor-funded initiatives to promote reconciliation and peacemaking in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Do the donors really understand social dynamics, and can their interventions be tested and evaluated?
Published by SIPRI/OSF.

2013

- (with Sharapova, S., eds.) Central Asia in International Relations: The Legacies of Halford Mackinder . London: Hurst and Co.
A co-edited book that explores the legacies of Halford Mackinder for understanding Central Asia. What was his own engagement with the region? How has he been used (and mis-used) to understnad it subsequently? A collection of scholars from diverse disciplines and traditions in eight countries over four continents discusses these questions, opening new directions in the study both of Mackinder and of Central Asia.

- 'Shared space, divided space: narrating ethnic histories of Osh', Environment and Planning A 45 (4): 892-907.
Abstract. In June 2010 the Kyrgyzstani city of Osh was engulfed in three days of mass killing, arson, and looting. Accounts by journalists, academics, politicians, and organisations tend to either overdetermine ethnicity as a causal factor, or dismiss its significance as a social process. As a result, internal responses to the tragedy have been viewed by outsiders as mendaciously irrational. To overcome this impasse, this paper foregrounds the idea of Osh as national territory. Based on ongoing ethnographic study since 1995, plus an analysis of media reports, it shows the ways in which Uzbek and Kyrgyz residents of the city have narrated its ethnic past as one of divided or shared space. The resonance of these narratives can both help account for responses to the violence within Kyrgyzstan that have puzzled outsiders, and also uncover resources of hope. The paper highlights the importance of considering nationalism as a geographical phenomenon in explicating ethnic-based violence in contemporary Central Asia. Keywords: nationalism, territory, Kyrgyzstan, violence, peace

2012

- 'Rethinking the study of international boundaries: a biography of the Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan boundary.' Annals of the Association of American Gepgraphers 102(2), pp. 464-481.

- Averting Violence in Kyrgyzstan: Understanding and Responding to Nationalism.' London: Chatham House.
An attempt to understand processes of 'nationalism' in Kyrgyzstan and what that means for preventing further violence in the southof the country.

2011

- Osh: one year on. June Open Democracy. Available as 'Osh's greatest blessing, and its greatest curse, is its geography' on the BBC World Service's Central Asian section in Kyrgyz and Uzbek.
A personal reflection one year on from the June 2011 Osh violence. Drawing on Nick's experiences in living in different places in Central Asia, it highlights the double tragedy of what occurred. This is the tragedy both of lives lost and property destroyed, but also of the unmaking of a city of inter-ethnic interaction that was unusual in post-1991 Central Asia.

2010

- The background to Osh: stories of conflict and coexistence October, Open Democracy.
Against a background of horrendous ongoing intercommunal violence in Osh, this article looks at the background to the start of the violence on June 2010. It considers how Uzbeks and Kyrgyz can narrate the modern history of the city as one of mutual coexistence, or very different stories of conflict. Grasping the salience of these narratives is vital for understanding the present conflict.

- (with Anara Karagulova) Discourses of danger and the 'war on terror': Gothic Kyrgyzstan and the collapse of the Akaev regime. Review of International Studies.
Critical international relations theory has given too little attention to regionally specific manifestations of discourses of the 'war on terror'. Using Richard Devetak's concept of a 'gothic scene of international relations', this article considers the final months of the regime of Kyrgyzstan's former President, Askar Akaev. Akaev evoked a gothic fantasy of a gloomy Kyrgyzstan terrorised by monsters recognisable from President Bush's nightmares, peculiarly Kyrgyz monsters, and obscene hybrids. That America was portrayed as a monster by an undemocratic regime fighting a desperate rearguard action highlights ironies both in Devetak's theory and in the international relations of Central Asia. We therefore suggest that attention needs to be paid to a gothic geography of international relations.

- The Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary: Stalin's Cartography, Post-Soviet Geography. In Borderlines and Borderlands: Political Oddities at the Edge of the Nation State, edited by A. Diener and J. Hagen. London: Rowman and Littlefield.
This chapter is a biographical history of the Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan boundary, and the place it has played in the domestic politics of the two states.

2009

- Central Asian states rewrite the rules of the 'great game'
A letter published in the Guardian newspaper.

2008

- 'From presidential podiums to pop music: discourses of danger in Uzbekistan', in Fear: Critical Geopolitics of Everyday Life, Rachel Pain, Susan J. Smith, Stephen Graham (eds). Aldershot: Ashgate, pp.25-36.
A book chapter that analyses what ideas about danger in Uzbekistan 'do' politically. As well as a discussion of a book by the President of the country, and newspaper coverage of drug smuggling, it includes an analysis of two pop music videos, which you can watch here: Sen Borsan and Ajdodlar Ruhi .

- Framing Andijon, narrating the nation: Islam Karimov's account of the events of May 13, 2005. Central Asian Survey 27 (1):15-32.

2007

- 'Central Asia: rethinking border-control assistance' Eurasia Insight 3/12/2007.
A short analytical article raising questions about European and North American development aid given to Central Asian governments to assist with border management control. As is so often the case with aid, the impact it has may be unanticipated and unfortunate.

(ed) Author-Critic forum: 'Radical Islam in Central Asia?', Central Asian Survey 26 (1):141-154.
Is it meaningful or useful to talk about 'radical Islam in Central Asia'? A number of scholars from different disciplines and with different opinions tackle this question in engaging with the book of the same title by Vitaly Naumkin, who replies to their comments.

- 'On researching 'ethnic conflict': epistemology, politics, and a Central Asian boundary dispute', Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 59 No.2: 252-277.
Abstract: Critiquing alarmist discussions of the danger of ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan, and the positivist epistemological assumptions and research practices that underpin them, this article develops an original approach to researching 'ethnicity' and 'ethnic conflict' through the use of focus groups. Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in southern Kyrgyzstan expressed similar views about the closures of international boundaries, framed in terms of ethnicity. However, this was not an essentialist notion, but rather a concept of authentic Uzbekness or Kyrgyzness predicated primarily on the performance of endogenous kinship practices and Muslim / Soviet notions of class morality, nuanced by geography. These overlaps and discrepancies provide resources for those wishing to articulate visions of future social formations wider that the range of options currently propagated by ethnic entrepreneurs.

-'Country report: Tajikistan' New Internationalist, No. 398, March 2007: 38. An introductory report on Tajikistan from a politico-development perspective.

2006

-'Borat - brilliant, bad, or boring?
A review of Sacha Baron -Cohen's the controversial spoof portrayal of the hapless Kazakh journalist, Borat, in America.

- The bell tolls for another US-based NGO in Uzbekistan, Eurasianet Civil Society, OSI, Washington, 7/06/11. News / analytical article about the closure of the NGO 'CAFE' in Uzbekistan

-'For ethnography in political geography: experiencing and re-imagining Ferghana Valley boundary closures', Political Geography 26 (10): 622-640.
Abstract: Political geographers have produced extensive and valuable bodies of knowledge on both international boundaries and geopolitics. However, an emphasis on discourse study means that these literatures are in danger of becoming both repetitious and lopsided, relegating or even erasing people's experiences and everyday understandings of the phenomena under question. This article suggests that ethnographic participant observation, a method largely neglected by political geographers, could be used to address these imbalances and provide new research directions. This argument is demonstrated by a study of the impact of the partial closure in 1999-2000 of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Ferghana Valley boundary. Post-Soviet time was hyper-accelerated by the belated imposition of the logic of nation-states onto the existing social geographies of kinship practice. The legal-constitutional division of the Valley in 1991 only 'caught up' with the lived experiences of borderland dwellers in 1999. The sudden collapse of this 'political geographical time lag' forced upon them the traumatic realisation that Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan really were two separate countries. In this context, using ethnography to highlight discrepancies between elite and everyday political geographical imaginations informs a critique of state violence that is parallel to, but not a replacement of, textual analyses informed by critical social theory.

-Review of 'Veiled empire: Gender & power in Stalinist Central Asia', by Douglas Northrop, 2004. Europe-Asa Studies 58 (1): 125-126.

-Review of 'Prospects for pastoralism in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan: From state Farms to Private Flocks,' by Kerven C., Geographical Journal 172: 78.

2005

-(with Nick, Gael Raballand, and Jerome Bouyjou) Performance, representation, and the economics of border control in Uzbekistan Geopolitics 10 (4):712-742
An article combining an economic analysis of tightened border controls in Central Asia with ethnographic and discourse analytic insights into the performative aspects of these policies, and the contradictions on the ground

-(with Sevara Sharapova and Alisher Faizullaev) 'Halford Mackinder's 'Heartland' a Help or Hindrance? Tashkent, 23 December 2004' Geographical Journal 171 (2) 177-178. This is the report outlining a conference held in Tashkent to consider the question as to whether Halford Mackinder's geopolitical theories can enable a better understanding of contemporary Central Asian international relations.

-(with Sevara Sharapova) (eds), 'On the Centenary of Halford Mackinder's Geographical Pivot of History', special issue of Central Asia and The Caucasus, 4 (34), 2005.
-(with Sevara Sharapova) (redaktori), 'Geograficheskaya os' istorii" Halforda Makindera' [Halford Mackinder's Geographical Axis of the History], Spetsial'nii vipusk jurnala Tsentral'naya Aziya I Kavkaz, 4 (40)
This is the special issue of papers collected from the above conference. The special issue was printed in both English and Russian variants.

-(with Sevara Sharapova), 'Mackinder's "Heartland": a help or hindrance in understanding Central Asia's international relations?', Central Asia and the Caucasus, 4 (34): 8-20
-(with Sevara Sharapova) 'Pomogaet ili meshaet "Hartlend" Makindera ponyat' Tsentral'nuyu Aziyu?' [Is Mackinder's 'Heartland' a help or hindrance in understanding Central Asia?] Tsentral'naya Aziya I Kavkaz 4 (40): 8-23.
This paper outlines the life and ideas of Halford Mackinder, and how they have been used.

-'The politics of using Mackinder's geopolitics: the example of Uzbekistan', Central Asia and the Caucasus, 4 (34): 89-102
-'Obrashenie k Makinderovoy Geopolitike, Primer Uzbekistana', Tsentral'naya Aziya I Kavkaz 4 (40): 107-124. Building on the previous paper, this article explores in more detail the connections between imperialism and Mackinder's life and works. It uses the 'critical geopolitics' of Gerard Toal to critique both Mackinder's ideas, and their use by contemporary scholars of Central Asia. It also reflects critically on Toal's own work in the light of scholarship on Central Asia.

-'The critical geopolitics of danger in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2005, 23 (4): 555 - 580.
Abstract: Drawing on critical security studies and critical geopolitics, this paper examines how geopolitical discourses of danger circulate in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Whilst some work in this field risks re-inscribing the discursive articulation of danger as an inevitable condition of political formation, this paper emphasises the need to carefully disaggregate the concept of danger to highlight its operation in specific contexts. It explores these processes across a range of discursive sites from official media to popular music, contrasting findings with material from focus groups composed of socially marginalised populations. It demonstrates the role of discursive constructions of danger or safety in the production and maintenance of the political identity of the new states, and how this is inseparable from material conditions of elite power struggle. It concludes by echoing Hewitt's call for a critical geography that confronts and challenges the domestic exercise of state terror.

-'Preventing conflict by building civil society: post-development theory and a Central Asian-UK policy success story.' Published in Central Asian Survey, 24 (1): 84-96.
This is an article that critically examines discourses of development around conflict prevention in Central Asia. It examines the work of the Eurasia Initiative, considered to be a UK-Central Asia policy success story, and asks what lessons can be learnt. It draws in particular on 'post-development theory.'

2004

- 'Revisiting the 'pivot': the influence of Halford Mackinder on analysis of Uzbekistan's international relations', Geographical Journal, 170 (4):.347-358
On the centenary of the delivery of Halford Mackinder's famous lecture delivered before the Royal Geographical Society in London, this article examines how his theory is being applied to contemporary Central Asia.

-'The critical geopolitics of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Ferghana Valley boundary dispute, 1999-2000', Political Geography, 23 (6): 731-764.
Abstract: In 1999 the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Ferghana Valley boundary became a brutal reality in the lives of borderland inhabitants, when it became the key issue in a crisis of inter-state relations. Mainstream explanations have suggested that the Soviet boundary legacy and convergent post-Soviet macro-economic policies made conflict inevitable. Drawing on critical geopolitics theory, this paper questions the implicit determinism in these accounts, and seeks to augment them by a political analysis. It suggests that 'the border crisis' was the product of the interaction of complex domestic power struggles in both countries, the boundary itself acting as a material and discursive site where elites struggled for the power to inscribe conflicting gendered, nationalistic visions of geopolitical identity. It concludes by insisting upon a moral imperative to expose and challenge the geographical underpinnings of state violence.

-Review of Yuri Bregel's An Historical Atlas of Central Asia. Published in Central Eurasian Studies Review, Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 2004: 33-34.
This examines Bregel's new Atlas, and raises wider questions about the cartographic portrayal and geographical imagination of 'Central Asia'.

-'To survive, villagers buck Uzbek border controls.' In: Eurasianet Business and Economics (Washington: OSI) 25/05/2004.

2003

-'Turkmenistan Country Profile', New Internationalist 345 (May 2002).

2002

-'Kyrgyzstan Country Profile', New Internationalist 345 (May 2002).

-'Biography of Afghan hero provides lessons for current readers' Review of Easwaran, Eknath Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, A Man to Match His Mountains (2nd edition) In: Eurasianet Culture (Washington: OSI): 10/05/2002.

-The Borders of Eternal Friendship? The politics and pain of nationalism and identity along the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Ferghana Valley boundary, 1999-2000
This is my Ph.D. dissertation, available for full download. It is an in-depth study of boundaries, geopolitics, and identity formation in the Ferghana Valley.

2001

-Conduct of Afghan campaign undermines US argument for open society development in Central Asia'. Published in Eurasianet Insight (Washington: OSI), 12/11/2001.
-'The politics of destroying Buddha.' Central Asia Monitor 2001 (2): 26-29

-'Osama bin Laden, the world's first postmodern terrorist' Turkistan Newsletter Volume 5:006 (9th January 2001)

2000

-Calming the Ferghana Valley Experts. A review essay of Lubin, Nancy and Rubin, Barnett Calming the Ferghana Valley: Development and Dialogue in the Heart of Central Asia. Report of the Ferghana Valley Working Group of the Centre for Preventative Action. New York: The Century Foundation Press, 1999. Central Asia Monitor 2000 (5): 20-25.

-'Q&A: Presidential Candidate Melis Eshimkanov Discusses Kyrgyzstan's Political Climate and Central Asian Relations', Eurasia Q&A, (Washington: OSI): 08/11/2000.

-'Scrap Metal on the Silk Road', Eurasianet: Business and Economics (Washington: OSI): 25/04/2002.

-'Remembering Batken: Militarism and Pop Concerts',Eurasia Insight , (Washington: OSI): 21/11/2000.

-'O'sh 3000 tantasining zamonaviy ijtimoiy ahamiyati'. In: Istoriya, Kul'tura I Ekonomika Yuga Kirgizstana, volume 1. (Osh: Osh State University): 125-131.

-'Language And Ethnicity In Kyrgyzstan'. RFE/RL Newsline Vol. 4, No. 108, Part I, 5 June 2000 (Prague: Radio Free Europe/ Radion Liberty).

-(With Antonina Zaharova) 'Osh Ten Years on: Positive Developments in Ethnic Relations', Eurasianet Insight (Washington: OSI): 18/9/2000.

-'Bad Neighbors, Bad Fences'. RFE/RL Newsline Vol. 4, No. 51, Part I, 13 March 2000 (Prague: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

-'Elections and Ethnicity in the South of Kyrgyzstan' ,Eurasia Insight (Washington: OSI): 30/3/2000. -'Chinggis Aitmatov And The Geopolitics Of Kyrgyzstan', Eurasia Insight , (Washington: OSI): 14/2/2000.

-'The Borders of Eternal Friendship: Kyrgyz-Uzbek Relations in 1999: Part III.' Eurasia Insight , (Washington: OSI): 6/01/2000.

1999

-Rezentsiya - Matalov, F. va Huriddinova, T. Qirg'ziston va O'zbekiston Halqlarining Qadimgi Dunyo Hamda Ilk O'rta Asrlardagi Taraqqiyptiga Oid Qisqacha Entsiklopedik Sharhlar. O'sh: Qirg'iz-O'zbek Universitet: 1-bet. -'Theorizing Gender, Ethnicity and the Nation-State in Central Asia', Central Asian Survey 18, no.1 (99-110).

-'The Borders of Eternal Friendship: Kyrgyz-Uzbek Relations in 1999: Part II', Eurasia Insight , (Washington: OSI) 12/1999:

-The Borders of Eternal Friendship: Kyrgyz-Uzbek Relations in 1999: Part I.' Eurasia Insight , (Washington: OSI): 12/1999.

1996

-'Uzbek-Kyrgyz borders in the Ferghana Valley: observations 1996' Labyrinth: Central Asia Quarterly 3, no. 4 (1996): 46.