Author Meets Critics: Nick Megoran's ‘Nationalism in Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary’

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Political Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Organizers: Shona Loong, James Sidaway, Chih Yuan Woon
Chairs: Shona Loong


Nick Megoran's most recent book, 'Nationalism in Central Asia', explores the process of building independent nation-states in post-Soviet Central Asia through the lens of the disputed border territory between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In his rich "biography" of the boundary, he employs a combination of political, cultural, historical, ethnographic, and geographic frames to shed new light on nation-building process in this volatile and geopolitically significant region.

Megoran draws on twenty years of extensive research in the borderlands via interviews, observations, participation, and newspaper analysis. He considers the problems of nationalist discourse versus local vernacular, elite struggles versus borderland solidarities, boundary delimitation versus everyday experience, border control versus resistance, and mass violence in 2010, all of which have exacerbated territorial anxieties. Megoran also revisits theories of causation, such as the loss of Soviet control, poorly defined boundaries, natural resource disputes, and historic ethnic clashes, to show that while these all contribute to heightened tensions, political actors and their agendas have clearly driven territorial aspirations and are the overriding source of conflict. As this compelling case study shows, the boundaries of the Ferghana Valley put in succinct focus larger global and moral questions of what defines a good border.

The book is published by University of Pittsburg Press.

This Author-Meets-Critics panel brings together interlocutors who will approach Megoran's book from a range of perspectives. They include specialists in Central Asia, border studies, feminist geographies, and political geography. At the end of the session, Nick Megoran will respond to these critics.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Shona Loong University of Oxford 5
Panelist John Agnew UCLA 10
Panelist Dina Krichker 10
Panelist Ali Hamdan UCLA 10
Panelist Henryk Alff Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) 10
Panelist Jennifer Fluri University of Colorado, Boulder 10
Panelist Robert Kaiser University of Wisconsin - Madison 10
Discussant Reece Jones University of Hawaii at Manoa 10
Discussant Nicholas Megoran University of Newcastle Upon Tyne 15

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