Contact and Member Profiles

OASIES’s main method of communication is the Inner Eurasian News Google Group. Simply sign-up to this list-serve to receive notices about upcoming events and conferences.

Events and announcements are also posted to our Facebook Group!


For further correspondence please contact the following members of the OASIES executive committee:

Ilke Denizli, Columbia (

Belle Cheves, NYU (

Holly Myers, Columbia (


Ilke Denizli is a second-year graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), studying international security policy. She focuses on ethnoreligious nationalism and mobilization in post-communist Muslim spaces, with a particular interest on the effects of historical grievances on national consciousness and memory formation. A Turkish-American, Ilke is also interested in the role of borderlands and Turkey’s interregional links with the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Belle Cheves is a Masters student at New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. Since her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, Belle has focused on modern Iranian history within the greater context of the Middle East and Central Asia, studying leftist movements of the 1970s through the lens of gender and sexuality. Belle plans to continue this work in a doctoral program following the completion of her Masters. She can be reached at

Holly Myers is a PhD student in the Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University.  She has traveled extensively throughout Russia and Central Asia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Murmansk, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Bishkek, Issyk-Kol, Almaty, Shymkent, Taraz, Kyzylorda, Aralsk, and Dushanbe.  Most recently, she studied Kazakh on a year-long ACTR program in Almaty; and, in Bishkek, she studied Kyrgyz and interviewed local authors, editors, and publishers about the city’s post-Soviet literary culture.  Her dissertation examines literature, film, songs, and art about the Soviet-Afghan War as products of a cultural phenomenon, with the intent to piece together the narrative(s) of myth-making surrounding the Afghan War in Soviet and post-Soviet societies, as well as explore how this particular war narrative functions in post-Soviet society today. She can be reached at

Casey Michel is originally from Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Rice University in 2010. He promptly began work as the northernmost male Peace Corps Volunteer in the world, serving as an English teacher along the Russian-Kazakhstani border. While Peace Corps Kazakhstan was shut down in 2011, his interests in the post-Soviet sphere didn’t wane. He is currently a first-year student in the Harriman Institute, focusing on demographic trends and post-Soviet Central Asian politics.He can be reached at

Chris Edling is a second-year MFA candidate in Writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, as well as an Instructor in Columbia’s Undergraduate Writing Program. From 2009-2012, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Prior to joining Peace Corps, he worked in Hollywood as a writer, editor, and producer. He is currently writing about Armenia and the practice of bride kidnapping in Eurasia. He can be reached at

Ann Strachan is a second year graduate student at Columbia University’s Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies Department (MESAAS). Her overarching interest is Russian interaction with ‘the East’ in the nineteenth century. Currently she is exploring the early history of the Theosophical Society in India and its Russian founder. In the future, she hopes to research late nineteenth-century exchange between Russian, Muslim, and Indian intellectuals as they rethink their identities and relationships with ‘the West.’ Of particular interest to her are the ideas of Crimean Tatar journalist Ismail Gasprinskii/Gaspirali (1851-1914), who sought to define Russian Muslim identity and proposed closer economic-political relations between Russia and the broader Muslim world given cultural affinities. She can be reached at



Professor Gulnar Kendirbai (History) is working with our organization in an advisory role. As a Columbia faculty member whose work is closely and comprehensively related to Inner Eurasia, she provides relevant feedback, guidance and expertise on our activities and initiatives. She can be contacted at gk2020[at]


Igor Rubinov studies the role of migration in reshaping politics, policies and economies in the resource-poor states of post-Soviet Central Asia. He focuses on cultural practices connected to mobility that hold the potential to suture gaps left by a lack of state resources. His MA work at Clark University focused on Kyrgyz remittance use as it reconstitutes local spaces and promotes collective cohesion through exchange. His current PhD work at Princeton University extends to Tajik communities, as they cross borders to invite development to their front door.  He can be contacted at irubinov[at]

Brinton Ahlin works on beliefs and practices of hospitality in Tajikistan as a way of understanding cultural politics and trans-national economies in the post-Soviet period. He is a currently a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at New York University and can be reached at ahlin[at]