Kagan Arik

Ayasli Lecturer in Turkish Language

Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle, 1999.
Teaching at Chicago since 2000.

Special Interests

Turkish and Turkic Language Pedagogy, Dialects of Modern Turkish and History of the Turkish Language, Turkic languages and cultures (Uzbek, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Tatar), Anthropology of Central Asia, Shamanism, Traditional medicine of Central Asian and Turkic nomads, Turkic oral literature, Anthropology of consciousness/healing.

Dr. Kağan Arık (PhD 1999, NELC/ANTH., University of Washington, Seattle) is the Ayaslı Lecturer in Modern Turkish and Turkic languages, and coordinator for the Modern Turkish language program at the University of Chicago since 2008. He has also been active as Lecturer in Uzbek and Central Asian Studies since 2000.

Dr. Kağan Arık has 25 years experience in language pedagogy for Modern Turkish Language and Literature. He has designed courses and teaching materials  for intensive Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Turkish language, as well as Modern Turkish literature. He also has interest in the historical development of the Turkish language and its various dialects, and is a member of the American Association of Teachers of Turkish and Turkic Languages.

Dr. Arik also has a background as an anthropologist (socio-cultural, linguistic, medical) of Central Asia, and he has studied the region since 1987. He has investigated pre-Islamic elements in the culture of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia and Turkey, and has published on the culture of the Kazak nomads in China, the oral literature of the Kirghiz, and on traditional healing among the Turkic peoples. His travels took him to Turkey, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tatarstan, and in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of the PRC. His regional languages of interest include Turkish, Kazak, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Turkmen, Azeri, Tuvan, Altai, Persian/Tajik, and Chinese. In addition to his activities in Turkish and Turkic language pedagogy, he teaches courses on the musical and medical anthropology of Central Asia, Central Asian History, Oral Literature, and on Old and Middle Turkic texts in the original. He founded the Central Asian Studies Society at the University of Chicago in 2000, and is a board member of the Central Eurasian Studies Committee at the University of Chicago.



“‪Shamanism, Culture and the Xinjiang Kazak:‪A Native Narrative of Identity”, PhD. Dissertation, University of Washington, 1999.


“Using Sound in Traditional Kazak Healing”, Oriental Medicine Journal, Spring 2010 (forthcoming).

“The Languages of Central, Northern and Western Asia”, book chapter in the Encylopaedia of 1000 Languages,  The Ivy Press,  Lewes United Kingdom, 2008.

 “A Native Taxonomy of Healing Among the Xinjiang Kazaks”, Anthropology of Consciousness, Vol. 10, Number 4 (December 1999 issue).

“Journey to Bulgar and Beyond”, REECAS Bulletin, Jackson School of International Studies, Spring 1998. Dept. of Near Eastern Lang. & Civ.

“The Celebration of the 1000th Anniversary of the Epic Manas”, Kazakh & Kirghiz Studies Bulletin, Vol. 2, Number 2, Autumn-Winter 1995-96.

“Kazakhstan and Turkey: Steps Towards a New Alliance”, Alatau: Journal of the Association for Kazakh Studies, Vol.1, no. 1., Winter 1992.


 “The Story-Telling Scorpion: Visitations and Encounters in Bayirköy, Turkey”; an ethnographic narrativea of Carian Yörüks in the Loryma Peninsula, Turkey.

“Maaday Kara: An Altaian Epic”, translation and commentary to be published in book form.

 “The Story-Telling Scorpion: Visitations and Encounters in Bay›rköy, Turkey”; ethnography.

 “The Endless Migration: a Dialogic Ethnography of the Kazaks”; revision of dissertation.

 “Ecological Problems and Native Knowledge in Central Eurasia”; collaborative study in progress.

Macfarlane Fellowship, 1998-99. Office of the Dean, University of Washington.
FLAS Fellowship, Summer 1997.  University of Washington.  Kazak.

FLAS Fellowship, 1996-97. University of Washington.  Kazak & K›rg›z.
FLAS Fellowship, Summer 1995. University of Washington. Kazak.
Poppe Fellowship, Spring 1995.  University of Washington, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization.
Dean’s Office Merit Award, 1993-94. University of Washington.  Graduate School.
Graduate Recruitment Fellowship, Autumn 1993. University of Washington.
SSRC Fellowship, Summer 1993. University of Washington, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization.
Poppe Fellowship, Spring 1993. University of Washington, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization.
SSRC  Fellowship, Summer 1992.  University of Washington, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization.
SSRC Fellowship, Summer 1991. University of Washington, Department  of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization.