Annual Conference

One of the core functions of the Central Eurasian Studies Society is to organize conferences that bring together the Central Eurasian scholarly community. CESS has held an annual conference hosted by universities across North America since 2000. The Annual Conference regularly features up to 70 panels and attracts approximately 300 scholars from around the globe.

In 2020, the CESS Annual Conference will be held at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, from October 15-18, 2020. More information coming soon!

In 2021, the CESS Annual Conference will be held at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Our 20th Annual Conference, CESS 2019, was held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from October 10-13, 2019. The information below is retained for reference and will be replaced once the next conference details are available.

Conference Host
Conference Logistics
Travel, Accommodation & Local Information
Keynote Speakers
Pre-Conference Workshops
Key Dates and Deadlines
Conference Rules and Guidelines
Photo Contest
Next Steps If Your Proposal Is AcceptedTravel Grants

Conference Host

This year’s conference will be hosted by the Central Asia Program, at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. The Elliott School prepares nearly 3,000 students each year for meaningful careers in international affairs. The School’s faculty conducts research, produces scholarship and contributes to the public debate on global issues to advance understanding and to help foster solutions. The School is located just steps from some of the most influential U.S., international and nongovernmental organizations in the world. This singular position in the heart of the District of Columbia enriches the School teaching and research by giving students and faculty unparalleled opportunities to engage with the international leaders who walk through our doors on a regular basis.

Launched in 2012, George Washington University’s Central Asia Program (CAP) promotes state of the art academic research on contemporary Central Asia and is an interface for the policy, academic, diplomatic, and business communities working on and in the region. CAP stimulates a multidisciplinary approach by combining the fields of political science, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, economics, globalization studies, development studies, and security studies. It concentrates on the five post-Soviet states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), as well as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Xinjiang, and Mongolia.

Conference Logistics

Conference venue: Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, 1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052.

Panel locations: Panels will be located across various floors of the Elliott School. Room numbers are shown in the online and print programs.

On arrival: Please come to the Registration & Inquiry Desk on the 2nd floor.  The desk is open as follows – Thursday October 10: 11am-6pm; Friday October 11 & Saturday October 12: 8am-4pm; Sunday October 13: 8am-10am.

If your registration is complete (presenters: and your CESS membership is up to date), collecting your name badge and a conference program will be quick and easy!

If you need to pay the conference registration fee and/or CESS membership, please allow additional time when registering, especially towards the start of the conference. You must complete payment(s) before receiving your name badge/program and attending sessions.

Internet and printing: Wi-fi will be available to all delegates; details are in the print program. Information about visitor printing may be found on the GWU website.

CESS 2019 on social media: The conference hashtag on Twitter is #CESS2019. Find CESS @CESS_news and the Central Asia Program @CentralAsiaProg. Facebook: CESS – and Central Asian Program – 


Registration for CESS 2019 is now closed. Non-presenting delegates were welcome to register right up to the start of the conference.

If your proposal has been accepted, you must register by the presenter deadline of September 1, 2019. Any presenters who were not registered by this date were removed from the conference program.


Click here to access the online program. This link takes you a list of all the panels organized by code (e.g. ANT = Anthropology, HIS = History). Click on the down arrow next to the panel name to view the date, time and location of the panel, the panel abstract and details of the papers in each panel.

A pdf version of the conference program can be downloaded here. All delegates will receive a print copy at registration:

The final version of the cultural program can be downloaded as a pdf. All delegates will receive a print copy at registration:

During breaks between panels on Friday and Saturday morning, coffee will be available in the 2nd floor hall. You should make your own arrangements for lunch. The Conference Guidebook has a number of suggestions for where to eat.

Travel, Accommodation & Local Information

The Conference Guidebook produced by George Washington University contains comprehensive information about traveling to the conference venue as well as recommendations on where to stay and eat, and what to do in the local area. Download it here:

Please note that there is no designated conference hotel for CESS 2019; rather, suggestions for nearby accommodation are offered in the guidebook.

Keynote speakers

Dr Mohira Suyarkulova, CESS 2019 keynote speaker
Dr Mohira Suyarkulova, CESS 2019 keynote speaker

Mohira Suyarkulova is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, American University of Central Asia. She studied International Relations at the University of St Andrews, Scotland (UK) and defended her PhD thesis on statehood and sovereignty in Central Asia in 2011.

Since then she has held a number of teaching and research positions in Europe and Central Asia.  Dr. Suyarkulova’s research interests cover a wide range of topics. She is currently completing a project on environmental history of the Syrdarya River in Khujand, Tajikistan as well as leading a participatory action study of the sexual lives of queer people in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.  Mohira is a queer communist and feminist, engaged in a number of initiatives on the intersection of academia, activism and art. She lives and works in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Dr Harsha Ram, CESS 2019 keynote speaker
Dr Harsha Ram, CESS 2019 keynote speaker

Harsha Ram is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Ram’s research interests and expertise are: Russian and European romanticism and modernism, Russian and European avant-gardes, Russian, European, Near Eastern and South Asian poetic traditions, Indian literature, Italian literature, Georgian history and literature, theories of world literature, literary theory, comparative poetics, genre theory, literary history, comparative modernisms and modernities, vernacular and high culture, cultural and political history of Russia-Eurasia and the Caucasus, postcolonial studies, theories of nationalism, imperialism and cosmopolitanism, the city and literature.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-conference workshops will be offered again at the CESS 2019 Annual Conference. Applications to particpate in pre-conference workshops were accepted until August 7, 2019. Visit the pre-conference workshops page for more information.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Call for proposals opensFebruary 2019
Deadline for proposal submissionsMarch 31, 2019
Proposal outcomes communicatedMay 8, 2019
Conference registration opensMay 2019
Travel grant outcomes communicatedEarly June 2019
Preliminary conference program published
(Online program will be continuously updated from this date)
August 2019
Early bird registration deadlineSeptember 1, 2019
Presenter registration deadlineSeptember 1, 2019
Printable conference program publishedSeptember 23, 2019
Deadline to send paper to panel membersSeptember 26, 2019
Pre-conference workshopsOctober 9-10, 2019
Annual ConferenceOctober 10-13, 2019

Conference Rules and Guidelines

Before submitting a proposal, please view CESS’ conference rules and guidelines.

The working language of the CESS Annual Conference is English. However, we will consider proposals for panels (not individual papers) in languages other than English. Please see our Conference Language Policy for details.

Photo Contest – NEW for 2019!

In a world where the visual is becoming an integral part of knowledge, visuals can also express scholarly knowledge. As such, for CESS 2019, we are organizing our first-ever photo contest under the title: “The Researcher and His/Her Fieldwork in Central Eurasia”.

We invite scholars and journalists to submit photos of Central Eurasia (as defined by CESS) that reflect on the relationship between the researcher and the object of research and illuminate the different faces of fieldwork.

Each photo should be accompanied by a short text (100 words maximum) explaining the meaning of the photo, as well as the place and year it was taken.

30 to 35 photos will be selected to be exhibited in the main hall of The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs from October 1 to October 31, 2019.

The competition is open to all CESS members who have paid their membership for 2019.

Photos should be of high resolution. We reserve the right to reject any photos that cannot be printed in sufficiently high quality.
Please send your photo and the text at

Deadline to submit photos: May 31, 2019
Announcement of winners: June 28, 2019
CESS 2019 photo contest posterDownload

Next Steps If Your Proposal Is Accepted

Proposal outcomes were sent by email on May 8, 2019. If your proposal has been accepted for inclusion in the conference program, congratulations! Your next steps are:

1. Ensure you are an active CESS member, a requirement for all those who present at the conference. If you are not currently a member, you can (re)join by paying the invoice you were emailed (for those who were members in 2018) or joining as a new member.

2. Register for the conference by the presenter registration deadline of September 1, 2019.

3. If you need a letter of acceptance from CESS, log into Cocoa, then, after confirming your contact details, select the “A” button next to your paper title.

4. Visa invitation letters can be requested from the host institution, George Washington University. Please email; include the word ‘CESS’ in the subject line. In your email, include: a) Your first and last name exactly as written in your passport, b) Name of your institution/affiliation, c) Your date of birth.

Visa invitation letters will only be issued to presenters; non-presenting delegates and family members of presenters are not eligible for a visa letter.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please contact CESS as soon as possible. We have incorporated all scheduling requests received by the end of July. Given the size of this year’s conference and the complexity of the timetabling process, we are not able to accommodate any additional scheduling requests.

Please contact CESS as soon as possible if you can no longer attend the conference.

Travel Grants

Travel grants for presenters at CESS 2019 are being offered. Please see the travel grants page for full details. Applications closed on April 30, 2019.