I could not think of a better way to start my tenure as host of New Books in Central Asian Studies than discussing Slow Anti-Americanism: Social Movements & Symbolic Politics in Central Asia (Stanford University Press 2021) with its author, Prof Edward Schatz from the University of Toronto. The book offers a privileged vantage point to assess the political relevance that symbols--in this case those emanated by the United States--continue to hold vis-à-vis attitudes, agendas, and strategies of social movements.
The book is rich in details, showcases the results of an exciting long-term research agenda, and does a fantastic job in tracing the long, slow trajectory of anti-American sentiments in post-Soviet Central Asia, focusing on how the many shifts in the US regional image have been observed, digested, and acted upon by three audiences as diverse as Islamic activists, social mobilisers, and labour activists. This is a timely book, one that will have even more resonance now that Central Asia has entered the post-US era.
Edward Schatz is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His previous books include Paradox of Power: The Logics of State Weakness in Eurasia (2017) and Political Ethnography: What Immersion Contributes to the Study of Power (2009).
Luca Anceschi is Professor of Eurasian Studies at the University of Glasgow, where he also edits Europe-Asia Studies.
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