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Islamic-Hagiography of Central Asia
CEUS-R 629
Devin DeWeese

This course will provide a general survey of the political, social, and cultural history of Islamic Central Asia from the 16th century down to the Russian conquest.  Introductory lectures will outline the geographical and ethnic context of Central Asian history, and the political and social legacies of the Mongol conquest in Central Asia; developments in sedentary Central Asia under Timurid rule and the emergence of the nomadic Uzbek confederation in the steppe will be given special attention, before turning to the Uzbek conquest of Central Asia at the beginning of the 16th century.  The bulk of the course will focus on the development of the Chingisid states of the Uzbeks in sedentary Central Asia from the 16th to 18th centuries, and on the emergence of the ‘tribal’ dynasties of the Manghïts, Qongrats, and Mings in Bukhara, Khorezm, and Khoqand in the 18th and 19th centuries; the history of Eastern Turkistan down to the Manchu conquest in the mid-18th century, and of the major nomadic polities of Central Asia (Qazaqs, Qïrghïz, and Türkmens), will also be discussed.  Throughout the course special ‘thematic’ attention will be focused on the development of political institutions and shifting modes of political legitimation, the interaction of nomadic groups with sedentary society, developments in ‘ethnic’ history, and aspects of religious and cultural life; students will also be acquainted with the sources for the study of Central Asian history during this period, and with major issues in the historiography of Central Asia.

Readings:  Required readings to be made available in a course packet are listed at the end of the syllabus; additional required readings are drawn from the following works placed on reserve at the Wells Library:

Audrey Burton, The Bukharans:  A Dynastic, Diplomatic and Commercial History, 1550‑1702 (New York:  St. Martin's Press, 1997).
M. Holdsworth, Turkestan in the Nineteenth Century:  A Brief History of the Khanates of Bukhara, Kokand and Khiva (London, 1959).
R. D. McChesney, Waqf in Central Asia:  Four Hundred Years in the History of a Muslim Shrine, 1480‑1889 (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1991).
R. D. McChesney, Central Asia:  Foundations of Change (Princeton, New Jersey:  Darwin Press, 1996).

Also required are the appropriate sections (Maps 18‑43) of Yuri Bregel, An Historical Atlas of Central Asia (Leiden:  Brill, 2003), copies of which are available in the Reference Room of the Main Library.

Requirements:  GRADUATES:  midterm exam (30%), final exam (40%), research project (research paper, review paper, or annotated bibliography), to be defined in consultation with the instructor (30%). 

All students are urged to begin exploring possible topics for the written report or research project as early in the semester as possible.