CESS Conference Rules and Guidelines

Conference Rules
Conference Language Policy
Guidelines for the submission of...

Guidelines for...

Conference Rules

Please read these four rules before submitting a proposal for a CESS conference.  You will be asked to confirm that you have read and understood the conference rules before you finalize a submission.  Failure to comply with these rules may lead to you being withdrawn from the conference program.

1. Commitment to Participate

By submitting a proposal to participate in a CESS conference (or being included on someone else's Panel proposal), you commit yourself to take the necessary steps to participate.  This includes: obtaining funding for the costs of participation as needed, applying for a visa on a timely basis if needed, keeping your schedule free of conflicting commitments, and fully preparing for the conference.

2. Requirement to be a CESS Member

All of those who are accepted for inclusion in the conference program as panelists are required to have or obtain current membership of CESS.  CESS conferences require considerable organizational effort to organize, and this effort is sustained by the CESS organization and CESS volunteer/members.  Membership offers a range of benefits including a discount on the conference registration fee.  And without the support of our members, CESS could not exist. 

Note that you do not need to be a member if you wish to attend the conference as an audience member.

All presenters and audience members must register for the conference and pay the registration fee.

3. Withdrawal and No-Show Policy

If you are accepted to participate in the conference program but then have to withdraw, you must notify the Conference Committee (info@centraleurasia.org) as soon as possible.  We suggest that you also copy your email to the Chair, Discussant and other members of your panel.  Every conference has a deadline for withdrawal and you should ensure that you contact us in advance of this deadline.

It will occasionally be the case that you have to withdraw after this deadline if circumstances arise that are out of your control.  If such a case arises, you must contact the Conference Committee (info@centraleurasia.org).  It is helpful if you can outline the problem.

If you fail to notify us of your inability to attend the conference by the withdrawal deadline, and there are no extenuating circumstances, then you will be counted as a "No-Show".  The penalty for "No-Shows" is that their proposals will not be considered for CESS conferences in the next two years.  This policy is strictly observed because "no-shows" lead to disruptions and general disorganization in the conference, and ultimately may mean that you have prevented another person from participating in the conference, even while you do not participate yourself.

4. Limits on Participation

Each conference participant may appear on the program for up to three panels, including a strict limit on presenting only one paper at the conference.  For the other two panels you may have a role such as Chair, Discussant or Roundtable Panellist.  You may submit two paper proposals, but only one of them can be accepted.  If you are a co-author on another paper, that paper may be presented by the other author.

If we receive a request to avoid a certain day in scheduling a paper or panel at the time of the proposal, then we will do our best to accommodate such requests, though we cannot guarantee it.  Once the preliminary program has been set, there is very little chance of being able to make any scheduling changes.  We ask that you respect the difficult work of the conference organization and make such requests only in very exceptional circumstances.  In general we strongly recommend that you plan to attend the entire conference.

You may not present the same paper at the Regional Conference and the Annual Conference in the same year.  You may submit the same proposal to both conferences but you must note this with the abstract, but it can only be accepted for one conference in a given year.

Presenters whose papers have been accepted for the program but who find they are unable to attend occasionally ask if a colleague can read their paper on their behalf.  This is not permitted: discussion of current work is an essential element of the conference, and it is impossible to discuss a paper as usefully if the author does not participate in that discussion.  In exceptional circumstances, if a presenter has made every effort to attend the conference but is prevented from doing so, and if the available technology permits, it may be possible (but it is not guaranteed) to arrange for video conferencing for a participant's presentation. 

Conference Language Policy

The default language of all CESS conferences in English.  This is because there is no other language that is widely used across the Central Eurasian region, extending from East-Central Europe to East Asia and from the northern part of South Asia to the Subarctic.  We want to foster cross-regional comparisons, and not to limit discussions to scholars within narrow regional enclaves.

At the same time, there can be cases where use of other language is justified.  Only Panels may include presentations in languages other than English, and only in the case that this was stated in the Panel proposal and approved by the Conference Committee.  Any Panels using other languages will be marked accordingly in the conference program.

If your proposal is accepted for presentation in English, you must not present your paper in another language.  It is not acceptable to ask someone to provide translation at the panel, nor to have someone else read your paper for you.

During the general discussion, if someone wants to intervene in a different language and if they are able to get someone to volunteer to help with translation that is acceptable, since we want to maximize the possibilities for spontaneous discussion.  However, such interventions should be especially brief, since sequential translation increases the time that is consumed. 

Guidelines for the submission of... 

Individual Papers

Individual paper presenters are included in a panel with a total of three or four paper presenters.  When the Conference Committee accepts individual paper proposals, they will assemble them into panels under a common theme, and arrange to have a Discussant and Chair for the panel.

1) Your name, affiliation, job title, email address, webpage (if applicable);

2) Paper title, abstract (250-400 words), and up to six keywords.  You may find our guidelines for writing abstracts helpful.

Incomplete submissions will not be considered. 


A panel consists of three or four paper presenters, a Chair and a Discussant.  The Chair and Discussant should not also be presenters.  Panel proposals should have a common theme that brings together all of the papers.  We strongly encourage panels that are comparative across regions and that bring together different disciplinary approaches to a common theme.  Please avoid submitting panels that involve a group of people who are all or mainly from a single institution and instead try to bring together colleagues that might not otherwise have many occasions to exchange ideas.  Panels last for 90 minutes.

Panel proposals should be submitted by one person representing the group.  This person, the panel organizer, is responsible for ensuring that everyone included in the proposal understands the rules and requirements of the conference.  In the proposal submission, you will need to include:

1) Details of all panel members: name, affiliation, job title, email address, webpage (if applicable);

2) For the panel: proposed title, abstract (250-400 words) explaining the rationale for the panel and showing how the papers relate to one another within the common theme;

3) For each presenter: author(s), paper title, abstract (250-400 words), and up to six keywords.

If one or more presenters wishes to present in a language other than English, please note the proposed language of presentation after their abstract.  Note that the abstract must be submitted in English.

Panel submissions lacking individual abstracts or other key information will not be considered.  Panels that lack a Chair or Discussant may be considered, but the strongest consideration will be given to complete panels.

At the conference, each presenter presents their paper, then the discussant makes comments, and then there is a general discussion.  Because the general discussion after all the presentations is as important a part of the panel as are the prepared presentations, it is essential that each presenter adheres to the time regime.  The order of paper presentations should follow to that which is indicated in the program.

If a panelist withdraws from a pre-organized panel, the Conference Committee may place another presenter on the panel; we will try to communicate with the organizer to ensure the acceptability of the fit, but this may not be possible when withdrawals occur late in the preparation process. 


A roundtable consists of a moderator and from four to six commentators.  Roundtables have a well-defined theme, typically, addressing some area of current development in Central Eurasian studies.  This may address recent events of importance to the region, new theoretical developments, and so on.  Commentators should be selected to represent a variety of views.  Commentators do not present the results of research, but rather their perspectives on the chosen theme.  Typically, the moderator initially allocates 5-7 minutes to each of the commentators to place key issues on the table for discussion, and then the moderator opens up the discussion to allow audience members to add questions or comments.

Roundtable proposals should be submitted by one person representing the group.  This person, the roundtable organizer, is responsible for ensuring that everyone included in the proposal understands the rules and requirements of the conference.  In the proposal submission, you will need to include:

1) Details of all roundtable members: name, affiliation, job title, email address, webpage (if applicable);

2) For the roundtable: proposed title, abstract (250-400 words).

Author-Critic Forums

In an Author-Critic Forum, three or four “critics” discuss a recently published book on Central Eurasian Studies that is expected to have a significant impact on the field.  Each critic speaks for around 10-12 minutes.  These comments are followed by a response from the book’s author of around 10-12 minutes.  The Author-Critic Forum also has a Chair who introduces the panelists, oversees time keeping and opens up for general discussion including the audience and further comments or responses by the critics and author.  Forums last for 90 minutes.

Before submitting a proposal to hold an Author-Critic Forum, the author must commit to joining the panel.  The author may also wish to arrange for copies of their book to be provided to the "critics".

Author-Critic Forum proposals should be submitted by one person representing the group.  This person, the Forum organizer, is responsible for ensuring that everyone included in the proposal understands the rules and requirements of the conference.  In the proposal submission, you will need to include:

1) Details of all Forum members: name, affiliation, job title, email address, webpage (if applicable);

2) For the Forum: name of the book and its author; description of the importance and relevance of the book to Central Eurasian Studies and the suitability of the proposed "critics" (250-400 words).


Workshops offer training-type interactive sessions for conference delegates.  Workshops in the past have addressed such matters as publishing, field research, ethics, or working with the media.  We are open to suggestions of new directions and new formats, and we will be keen to support well-justified proposals that attempt objectives that have not been tried before.  Workshops last for 90 minutes.

Workshop proposals should be submitted by one person representing the group.  This person, the Workshop organizer, is responsible for ensuring that everyone included in the proposal understands the rules and requirements of the conference.  In the proposal submission, you will need to include:

1) Details of all Workshop members: name, affiliation, job title, email address, webpage (if applicable);

2) For the Workshop: title; description of the aims and intended outcomes of the workshop and its relevance to CESS conference participants (250-400 words). 

Guidelines for... 


The role of Chair involves three functions:

(1) Briefly introduce the panel and the panelists.  You may wish to contact the panelists and ask them to provide 2-3 sentences about themselves to use for the introduction.  We will ask the panelists to send their papers to you (and the discussant) by the deadline (May 13 for the Kazan conference and Oct. 14 for Princeton).  You may read the papers in detail, if you wish, but this is mainly so that you have the chance to familiarize yourself with the paper enough that you can introduce the panel.  You do not need to speak more than a few minutes altogether in making the introductions.

(2) Keep the presenters to the allotted time.  It is very important that presenters take no more time than they are allotted, since this would amount to stealing time from other presenters and from the audience's time for discussion.  In most cases, the panel will have 3-4 presenters plus a discussant.  With 3 presenters, the norm is 20 min. presentations, while with 4, it is 15 min.; the discussant is given 12-15 min., leaving at least 30 minutes for audience participation in the discussion (total: 1 hour and 45 minutes).  If fewer speakers appear for the panel, the Chair should decide how to divide the additional time among the speakers, and inform them before beginning the panel.  The Chair should pass a note to the Presenter to notify them when five minutes, three minutes and one minute remain, and again when they should "Stop".  The Chair should cut off the presenter when the time is exceeded by more than about a minute, and move directly on to the next speaker.  This is a difficult job, but it is essential, given the tight time constraints that ensure everyone a chance to benefit equally from the panel.  Please be draconian.

(3) Moderate the audience discussion.  You should recognize audience members to address questions or comments to the panelists.  It is usually most efficient to move directly from the Discussant's comments to the first round of questions, and then invite members of the panel to answer those comments or questions of the Discussant, as well as audience member questions that are most interesting for general discussion.  When recognizing questioners from the audience, please ask them to state their name and institution, and ask them to be concise in their questions or comments.  Unless there is a great abundance of time, it is best to gather several questions before asking panelists to respond.  If an audience member speaks for more than about 2 minutes, the Chair should not hesitate to interrupt them and move on to the next question or ask the panelist(s) to respond.  Again, the Chair is the one who saves the panel and audience from long interventions that steel time from the general discussion.  When there is little time, the Chair can also encourage panelists to respond only to the questions that are most interesting for general discussion. 


The role of Discussant is to read the papers and prepare some comments or questions in response, which aim to stimulate thought about the papers individually and in relation to one another, and to set the stage for the subsequent general discussion including members of the audience.  The Paper Presenters are required to submit their papers to you as an e-mail attachment by the set deadline.

The requirement to submit the working paper in advance is a firm one, and though we do not exclude from the panel those who do not submit it, we may disqualify them from participation in a future CESS conference.  If you do not receive a paper with enough time in advance of the conference for you to read it and prepare a response, you are entitled to inform the audience that you did not receive the paper and therefore will not comment on it (though for the sake of a good discussion, you may comment on the oral presentation if you wish).  We consider it of utmost importance that you have adequate time to prepare your response, and thus, we encourage you to be "severe" with those who fail to enable you to do your part adequately.  We do not want you to have the burden of pestering the presenters to send you their papers and we will send reminders to Presenters to adhere to the deadline, but it is also fine if you want to contact the authors in order to "nudge" them or perhaps to identify cases where there has been a technical problem and the paper needs to be resent.

Discussants typically do not have time to orally present all of their comments on the papers, and they are encouraged to convey additional comments in writing, or verbally after the panel.  Comments made during the session are best focused on the major points of the paper; notes on details are less useful for stimulating a good discussion, and can be conveyed in writing or afterwards. 


You must send your working paper via email to the Chair and Discussant by the set deadline.  The contact information for your Discussant and Chair will be provided in the preliminary program, and you are encouraged to send your paper to all panelists on your panel as well.

During your presentation, you must adhere to the allotted time.  If there are 4 presenters on the panel, then you have 15 minutes for your presentation.  If there are 3 presenters, you have 20 minutes.The Chair is asked simply to cut off the presenter if they exceed the time by more than one minute.

You may use Powerpoint and/or audiovisual during your presentation.  It is not recommended to simply read the text of your paper.  Firstly, it is unlikely that you would have enough time to read it in full.  Secondly, the purpose of the conference presentation is to convey the key messages of your paper in an engaging manner.  It is rarely the case that reading a paper aloud word-for-word produces this effect.

We have prepared some guidelines for presentation of papers.  The form that papers take for a conference of this kind can vary, and the important thing is that you present your research findings in a way that is conducive to a good scholarly discussion.  Typical conference papers are working versions of a paper being prepared for publication, a dissertation chapter, or similar.  You may send a longer draft to the Discussant, but if you do this please let the Discussant know what you will focus on in your presentation.