Dates: April 26-29, 2018
The overly complex scientific basis for studying the human and natural world led to the separation of forms of knowledge. Such specializations were very productive, but also costly, since scientists from related disciplines often can not interact with seemingly untranslatable forms of knowledge, even if they focus on the same terrain as the Naryn River (Strang 2009). Differences in ways of understanding the lives of these rivers between local people, scientists and policy makers are an important factor preventing the resolution of conflicts regarding water distribution and water quality. This seminar offers a new research format, which, with the joint participation of scientists from the natural and social sciences, will unify different approaches to creating knowledge with Soviet scientific practice (Dressel et al., 2014).
We are trying to find practical and philosophical approaches in combining different knowledge between epistemic communities to build more reliable and effective ways of understanding the complex life of the rivers in Central Asia. The purpose of our five-day seminar is an interdisciplinary study of the Naryn River and Shamaldy-Sai settlement in the south of Kyrgyzstan. Built as a town of power engineers with associated industries, this windy lowland area was inhabited by geologists, dam workers, builders and water specialists. In the post-Soviet period the town was transformed, there was a mass emigration, there were protected borders with Uzbekistan. Today, the border Shamaldy-Sai, with the hydropower potential of the river, is a fascinating combination of the decline of Soviet industry in the form of the ruins of factories with the dynamic growth of market-trade relations. We invite scientists of natural, applied and sociological sciences to share their disciplinary knowledge in conducting an instant research (flash survey) of this river town. In cooperation with the city administration, we will develop interdisciplinary teams, for example in a tandem, engineers and sociologists, environmentalists and historians, geographers and hydrologists will create new forms of interdisciplinary knowledge of the river. We seek to jointly create new forms of interdisciplinary knowledge about rivers that can be used in both applied and academic contexts (Wolfe et al., 2007).
The event is financed by the Volkswagen Foundation and is part of the three-part research project "Social Life of the River: Ecological Histories, Social Worlds and Conflict Resolution along the Naryn-Syrdarya River."
More detailed information can be found here:
The seminar will be conducted in Russian, Kyrgyz and English languages with the provision of a translation if necessary. As a result of the convention, edited academic material, a flash report of the village of Shamaldy-Sai and an expanded blog on the website of the Naryn-Syrdarya project will be released.
We welcome applications from participants from different disciplines and expertise on the rivers and cities of Central Asia. Send a brief resume and motivational letter with an explanation of what your contribution and your expectations from the event will be by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org until 31.01.2018. Also indicate if you need financing your trip.
The preliminary program:
04/25/2018 - Arrival of participants, dinner
26.04.2018 - Introduction, meeting with the village administration and the public.
Discussion of goals
Tour of the area, hydroelectric power station, dam
04/27/2018 - flash study I
28.04.2018 - flash research II
After lunch: time for analysis
04/29/2018 - Presentation of the results
Comparison and discussion
Results of social order, additional research questions
30.04.2018 - Departure of participants