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Eurasian Elites as a Political Economic and Cultural Problem
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Registration required. Please note that all attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines. Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community.  To that end, all visiting alumni and guests must meet the University requirement of full vaccination status in order to attend in-person events.  Vaccination cards may be checked upon entry to all venues. 

Please join us for the 6th Annual Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lecture given by Morgan Liu, Chair and Associate Professor of Near Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures at The Ohio State University. Moderated by Alexander Cooley.

Economic elites across Eurasia (Russia, China, the Middle East, and Central Asia) are usually seen primarily as political economic and financial actors. What picture do we get if we situate these superrich also as socially networked, culturally entangled human beings? Do the particulars matter concerning, for example, their conspicuous consumption, ostentatious philanthropy, and claims of “effective altruism” or innovatively serving the common good? How do considerations of taste and aesthetic judgement enable or modulate elite power?  We consider how ethnography could potentially reveal how trust is built, alliances formed, interests align, obligations incurred, and projects initiated within the transnational, multi-sectoral networks of Eurasian elites, whose activities may be becoming more consequential than those of national governments and Bretton Woods institutions.

Morgan Liu is Chair and Associate Professor of Near Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures at The Ohio State University, with a Ph.D. in anthropology from The University of Michigan.  He was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows and served 2019-2022 in the Presidency of the Central Eurasian Studies Society.  His book Under Solomon’s Throne: Uzbek Visions of Renewal in Osh won a CESS Book Prize in 2014.