Seminar series “Digital History in/of Central Asia”

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Dear colleagues,

We invite you to the Seminar series “Digital History in/of Central Asia” as part of the seminar of the Chair of Modern and Eastern European History, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. The seminar is held in collaboration with the German Association for East European Studies (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde, DGO)

The first seminar “Repressive policy of the Soviet authorities in the field of culture (1925-1953)” will be held on November 9, 14:15 CEST. The guest speaker is Prof. Dr. Zamira Ishankhodzhaeva, National University of Uzbekistan.


This ongoing seminar series will explore the history of Central Asia, with a focus on digital tools and methodologies. Central Asia is a diverse region encompassing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This seminar will cover such topics as mapping ancient trade routes, digitising manuscript collections, computational text and image analysis, translations and corpuses of historical texts, 3D modelling of architectural sites, development of digital repositories. Special emphasis will be placed on 19th-21st century history, encompassing themes of colonial legacies, repressions and deportations in the Soviet Union, cultural history, and memory studies within the Central Asian context.

The speakers of the seminar will be leading researchers and experts from Central Asian countries involved in digital history and the preservation and study of historical cultural heritage, as well as researchers from around the world engaged in research and collections on the history and culture of the region using digital instruments.

The seminar is designed to foster the creation of networks and collaborations among Central Asia experts, facilitating the exchange of ideas, innovative methodologies, and knowledge within the realm of digital history. Our goal is to engage in discussions surrounding joint initiatives and to enhance our collective capacity for growth and development in this field.

The idea of the seminar was proposed by Prof. Dr. Julia Obertreis, the chair of the department in 2012-2023, who passed away in October 2023. Professor Obertreis conducted extensive research on the history of cotton cultivation and irrigation infrastructure in Central Asia during the imperial and Soviet eras. Her book „Imperial Desert Dreams“ examined water management in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan from 1860-1991, linking it to colonialism and transnational debates. Her scholarship provided crucial insights into the environmental and social legacies of Soviet modernization in the region.

The seminar is held in memory of Julia Obertreis.

Seminar curators: Moritz Florin ( and Dinara Gagarina (  These contacts can be used to suggest topics for the seminar.

Format and registration

The seminar will meet one or two times every month, with each session featuring a guest speaker presenting original research followed by Q&A and discussion. Sessions will be held in a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual attendance options to facilitate broad participation. Working languages of the seminar: English, German, Russian.

Place: online in Zoom and onsite: Erlangen, Bismarckstr. 12.

For registration and Zoom-link please write to Dinara Gagarina (

First seminar on November, 9

Time: November 9, 14:15 CEST (14:15 Berlin / 18:15 Tashkent / 19:15 Bishkek and Almaty).

Language: presentation: Russian, questions: English, German, Russian.

Topic: Repressive policy of the Soviet authorities in the field of culture (1925-1953).

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Zamira Ishankhodzhaeva, professor of the Department of History of Uzbekistan, National University of Uzbekistan named after Mirzo Ulugbek, Tashkent.

The research interests of Zamira Ishankhodzhaeva span a wide array of topics, including Uzbekistan’s history in the 20th century, history of repressions, World War II history, 20th-century cultural developments in Uzbekistan, contemporary Uzbek history, and issues related to the collaboration between Uzbekistan and Russia. She has authored numerous publications, notably „The Repressive Policy of the Soviet Government and the Culture of Uzbekistan: The Tragedy of Survival (1925-1953)“, which offers crucial insights into the historical context of repression and its profound impact on Uzbekistan’s culture. Recognized as a pioneer in Uzbekistan’s digital history field, Dr. Ishankhodzhaeva conducts digital historical research and provides academic courses on digital history and digital humanities. She is also the initiator and the head of the groundbreaking project “Raqamli Tarix” (digital history), dedicated to developing an electronic platform and multimedia complex for in-depth exploration of the legacy and commemoration of victims of repression, she plays a pivotal role in preserving their memory.

Announcement in PDF (eng).

Анонс семинара на русском языке.