Connecting the beautiful culture of Turkic people to Mori Kaoru's Otoyomegatari.
cassie-oliveira18 asked: Hi,My name is Cassandra and I am a portuguese student, majoring in Asian Studies. I would like to know where I can get an MA related with Central Asia. I also LOVE Central Asia, I love everything about it, but I dont know where to start.
For you and anyone else interested in Central Asia for grad school, my first two recommendations are Indiana University (where I went) and University of Washington. Indiana is, imo, the premier destination for all things Central Asia, especially the Uzbek language, but it’s relatively history focused. The nice thing about IU is that they focus purely on Central Asia as opposed to grouping it in with Russian studies. UW is another great program with more focus on modern/political science type aspects of Central Asia, but I have heard there are some issues in department leadership that have taken a negative toll on the program as a whole. IU is much, much cheaper, both in terms of tuition and cost of living and Bloomington is basically the perfect college town.
There are some other options. There are nascent/growing programs with Central Asia classes in a lot universities in different parts of the country, including UT-Austin, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Harvard, NYU, and George Washington, and plenty of others. The best thing you can do is, when looking at various schools, check out departments that may be related to Central Asia (this is usually Russian/Eastern European Studies or Middle/Near Eastern Studies) and see what classes they regularly offer related to the region.
One fantastic development for undergrads is that IU will soon be offering an undergrad degree in Central Eurasian Studies, as well.
Anyway, if there is anyone who’d like to add to this or correct it or suggest some opportunities available in Europe, that might be helpful.
I agree with chingizhobbes on their recommendation of IU and UW (although I believe IU to be the stronger of the two). After spending a year in an MA at Harvard and trying to find my Central Asian group… I’d like to offer some insight on it.
If you’re interested in Northern Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan mostly) then Harvard will work out well. There is a Central Asia working group within the Davis Central (Russian and Eurasian studies) and they people there are good and they do good work. If you’re interested in more of Inner Asia and the Altai (Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc) then Harvard is also pretty good. We have a program on Inner Asia and Altaic Studies. Most of the people are historians (and not linguists like me) but it’s still good.
However, if you’re interested in more of Southern Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan) then Harvard doesn’t really have you there… There are a few individuals (mostly students) who are forging their own ways in these fields, but there isn’t a great representation for it.
As far as languages (and even regular coursework) are concerned, we consistently offer Persian, Uzbek, Turkish, and Russian. The students that I have met who have learned Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, etc… they’ve all learned it on there own.
For old and ancient Central Asian languages, there is an professor emeritus who sometimes teaches private lessons in Chagatai, and a professor may be offering Sogdian next year. However, other languages come and go with various professors and students. There was an ancient Iranian linguist who knew Khotanese Saka and Bactrian, but he is retiring and I don’t know of anyone else who offers these languages. There is a professor in the linguistics department who does Tocharian, but I believe she is on leave right now.
In general, Harvard isn’t a bad place but there is definitely better. There are also some programs in Europe (mostly France and Germany, maybe Leiden). A few French schools like INALCO, Paris III, and others in their consortium (CNRS, INALCO, EPHE, Sorbonne Nouvelle) have a lot on general “Oriental” studies with foci in Turkish Central Asian and Indo-Iranian studies where you can do a lot with Central Asia.
Anyways, I hope this addition can help somehow in the search. Good luck!
I’ve been looking into IU, it looks to have a very good program.@1 week ago with 20 notes