Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit

A critical part of the University’s mission is to help the different peoples of the region preserve and draw upon their rich cultural traditions and heritages asassets for the future. Thecustodians of traditional knowledge are aging and, with limited resources toengage in preservation, this knowledge is under threat from several forcesincluding migration and outside influences.

The University’s Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit (CHHU) is advancing theUniversity’s mission by preserving and promoting the rich and diverse cultural heritages of the region through research, documentation, archiving andsupport of regional scholars. Currently located at UCA’s Bishkek office, theUnit will move to UCA’s new campus in Naryn.

The CulturalHeritage and Humanities Unit was created to:

  • Preserve rich and diverse cultural heritages through research, documenting, archiving andsupporting work of regional scholars;
  • Enhance understanding of socio-culturaland historical processes in Central Asia and contribute to internationalacademic discourse on the region;
  • Serve as a knowledgehub for scholars, researchers, students, musicians, culturalpractitioners, tradition bearers, stake holders and decision-makers;
  • Enhance UCA’s academic programmes in the School of Arts and Sciences,including the undergraduate Central Asian Studies minor;
  • Enrich cultural engagement and activities across UCA’s three campuses.
  • Promote cultural diversity,pluralism and understanding across cultures and generations in CentralAsia; and
  • Promote Central Asian cultural heritage internationally through English translations of fundamental oral, literary and ethnographic works.


In partnership with other stakeholders,UCA research fellows are capturing and preserving existing information andcultural collections, while generating new dialogues and narratives on culturalheritage and identity in Central Asia. Key research themes include:

  • Cultural traditions: continuity, adaptation, and change
  • Oral and literary expressions of culture
  • Music
  • Religious and philosophical heritages of Central Asia
  • Local and regional histories of Central Asia
  • Cultural diversity, pluralism, and interethnic relations
  • Archaeology
  • Architecture

Increasing Access to Central Asian Oral and Literary Heritages

To increase awareness of and access to Central Asiantraditions, the CHHU is translating fundamental Central Asian oral and literaryworks. This process of documentation and dissemination will enrich both academic and artistic initiatives. Initiatives include translating seminal Central Asian literature into English and the national languages of the region and producing ethnographic documentary films.

UCA Cultural Heritage Book Series

The UCA Cultural Heritage Book Series promotes understanding across cultures and generations by supporting Central Asian scholars conduct original and high-quality research, and publish and disseminate their work to regional and international audiences. UCA, with its partners, also supports the development of resources on Central Asian cultural heritage by other publishers.

All CHHU resources