Regionally, the focus at the chair Finke is on Central and Inner Asia, a vast area in the middle of the Eurasian landmass. It encompasses the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Qazaqstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in the western part, as well as the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in China, and the Mongolian and Tibetan areas to the east.
Throughout its history, this region has been a meeting place and a transition zone of economic goods, cultural ideas and political movements. Following the end of socialism, people in the region have experienced dramatic changes that created a new type of global integration. In the popular imagination, this is often linked to scenarios of ethnic conflicts, ecological crises and social disruptions but on the ground the situation shows a much more complex and variable picture.
Several larger research projects deal with Central and Inner Asia, which has led to the foundation of the Centre for Anthropological Studies on Central Asia (CASCA), in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.
In terms of teaching, this strong focus – the largest and most comprehensive in Europe – enables students to participate in multiple research activities. On average every two years we also offer an excursion or summer school in the region that provides students the opportunity to gain first hand insights and the chance to conduct individual projects.