I moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan, in early September 2011 on a Fulbright grant. Having studied this country and region from afar for several years, this is only my second time traveling to Central Asia and my first opportunity to be immersed in it’s history and culture.

Prior to this year, I had focused only on the international relations, politics and modern history of the five post-Soviet Central Asian “Stans.” While I continue to conduct research in these areas, the Fulbright offers incredible freedom to pursue whatever topics catch my eye. I take advantage of this latitude to pursue all manner of interests, including early 20th century modernist painting, Soviet urban planning, transnational immigration and Kazakh winemaking.

This blog is a forum for me to record, share and explore my experiences and aspects of my research. It is also a space for me to develop ideas for further investigation. In this spirit, most of my posts are incomplete thoughts, and input and observations are welcome from all readers. Please note, moreover, that the views and information presented herein are my own and do not represent those of either the Fulbright Program or the US Department of State.

For those who do not already know me, I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was 14, at which time I began boarding school near Boston, MA. After completing my undergraduate degree in the History of Art at Yale University, I worked in New York first as a research assistant on Chinese politics at the Council on Foreign Relations and then as an administrator at the NGO Humanity In Action. In July 2011, I graduated with an MPhil degree in Politics (“Political Science,” for Americans) from Cambridge University, where I was a student member of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum. I speak and read Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

You can reach me at: paullrandt [at] gmail.com

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