Chicago Central Eurasia Group
The Chicago Central Eurasia Group (CCEG) comprises a core of academic experts who serve advisory roles to those trying to understand situations and trends regarding regional economies, politics, and stability. Our advisory services are available for individuals and concerns according to clients’ requests. CCEG will tailor services to specific client interests regarding phenomena as diverse as cultural-historical expertise to commercial law to analyses of political regimes and market tendencies. While we are not limited to the Chicago area, we are based in Chicago.
CCEG Executive Board
Russell Zanca, Professor of Anthropology, Northeastern Illinois University
Michael J. Bechtel, Doctoral Candidate, University of Chicago
Cynthia Buckley, Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Scott Levi, Professor of History, Ohio State University
Committee on Central Eurasian Studies
We formed the Committee on Central Eurasian Studies to encourage and support scholars in fields of study that relate to Central Eurasia. Our inaugural 2013 Lecture Series was a great success and we have continued to build upon that success. The Committee has also been actively brokering an institutional partnerships between the University of Chicago, the Oriental Institute and Nazarbayev University, opening the possibilities of collaboration that include in Russian and Kazakh language study; student and faculty research exchange; and archaeology and cultural heritage projects. As new opportunities for the study of and in Central Eurasia are made available, CCES purses these with the goals of furthering interest, resources and possibilities for students and scholars. The Committee is made of faculty, staff and students from Chicago area institutions.
Open House Chicago
Open House Chicago is an annual city-wide event organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, held in 2015 on 17-18 October. There were 200 buildings throughout Chicago open to the public with experts and volunteers on hand to guide and discuss the buildings’ architecture, design and history. I was at the New Regal Theater (Avalon Theater) in the South Shore neighborhood to answer questions and talk with visitors about the theater’s Islamicate architecture and interior spaces. This beautiful and unusual building has a rich history and was the site of many notable performances. See the New Regal’s website for information about the building, its rebirth and future, and to see photos.
Islamicate Studies Symposium
A NELC colleague and I created and organized the Islamicate Studies Symposium which took place at the University of Chicago on 18 October 2014. Our impetus for the event was the recognition of the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Marshall G.S. Hodgson’s The Venture of Islam. The event brought together 18 scholars of Islamicate studies from around the world to discuss major issues in the field and to examine themes about which all of the attending participants had written papers.
Ismaili Studies Conference
Taking place in the days preceding the Islamicate Studies Symposium, on 17 and 18 October 2014, the same NELC colleague and I planned and organized the Ismaili Studies Conference (ISC) to bring scholars in the fields of Ismaili studies to Chicago for two days to present and discuss their work with one another. The ISC exceeded even our highest expectations and turned out to be a ground breaking exchange of new ideas and plans for the future of Ismaili studies.
Middle East History and Theory Conference
In May 2014, Annie Greene (fellow graduate student in NELC) and I organized the 29th annual Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Conference at the University of Chicago. The MEHAT Conference is one of the largest graduate student organized conferences in the field and regularly attracts around 100 presenters and some 200-300 attendees for its multi-day proceedings.