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The 24th Annual ACES Conference

The 24th Annual ACES Conference

by Jaime Bue

This year marked the 24th Anniversary of the Central Eurasian Studies Conference held at Indiana University. The Association of Central Eurasian Studies (ACES) hosted the conference in tandem with the Mongolia Society’s Annual Meeting from Friday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 4th, 2017. Presentations as well as the Keynote speech were held in IU’s Student Building near the iconic Sample Gates with a reception at the Mathers Museum featuring Mongolian musical performances by the Mongolian Cultural Association of Chicago.

The conference originally began in 1994 due to the effort of two doctoral candidates in CEUS, Johan Elverskog and Alexsandr Naymark. ACES has been responsible for the organization and implementation of the annual conference since 1997. Each year the conference attracts scholars from Indiana University and around the world as a research forum as well as a site for scholarly collaborations to further knowledge of Central Eurasian Studies. This year was no different with panels focused on Afghanistan, Hungary, Iran, Mongolia, and Tibet, as well as topics covering geopolitics in Central Asia and comparative studies on gender and literature in the region. Dr. Sienna Craig of Dartmouth College delivered the Keynote Speech entitled, “The Khora of Migration: Care and Longing Between Nepal and New York City”.

One new aspect of this year’s conference was the addition of workshops and presentations to increase awareness of tools to enhance research across the field of Central Eurasian Studies. Through help by the Tibetan Studies Student Association and the generous support of the IAUNRC, the conference featured a workshop by Dr. Ken Bauer of Dartmouth on integrating GIS and maps into field study entitled, “Mapping Cultural Knowledge: The Challenges and Opportunities of Integrating Ethnographic and Spatial Data”. Dr. Tassie Gniady and Theresa Quill, scholars at Indiana University, conducted the Digital Humanities Workshop on Friday, March 3rd. The Digital Humanities Workshop included a detailed introduction to R for literature analysis and an overview the platform’s other operating features, plus a tutorial in geo-referencing historical maps and working with open source data. In addition to these workshops, Ms. Susie Drost of the Mongolia Society helped to arrange a tour of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Center, a tour of the Lilly Library with the Head of Conservation- Dr. James Canary, as well as a Social Hour at The Venue which featured an exhibition opening by Mongolian artist Butedma Gonso.