This course offers an introduction to the enormous subject of social theory, as developed in the disciplines of anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology. The aim is to acquaint students with a range of analytical tools and critical perspectives employed across disciplines and regions of the world.
We will begin by reading several works by the most influential social theorist of the last two centuries, Karl Marx. We will go on to read the work of theorists who challenged or elaborated his ideas about class, ideology, and political resistance. Following this we will address the linguistic or reflexive turn in the social sciences. Topics will include critical historiography, the links between colonialism and the production of knowledge, the power of representation, and the challenge of explaining social continuity and change.
Throughout the course we will consider how social theory has been and can be used to illuminate the study of Central Eurasia.