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- Peoples and Cultures of Central Asia
- Catalog number CEUS-U 398/520
M. Nazif Shahrani
anthropological introduction to the societies and cultures of the contemporary
Muslim successor states of former Soviet Central Asia and the adjacent areas of
Iran and Afghanistan --i.e., western Turkistan. Topics include ecology,
ethnohistory and the structure of traditional subsistence strategies (nomadic
pastoralism, sedentary farming, and urban mercantilism); forms of marriage,
family, kinship, gender relations, identities and organization; religious
beliefs and practices; and the assessment of socio-economic change and recent
political transformations experienced by the peoples of this region under the
colonial rules of tsarist and Soviet Russia, and the modern nation states of
Iran and Afghanistan. The consequences of war on terrorism, volatile
sociopolitical conditions and future prospects for the peoples of this region
will be also critically examined. No special knowledge of the region on the part
of students is presumed. However, a background in general anthropology would be
helpful, but not essential. The course will consist of lectures, reading
assignments, film and slide presentations and class discussions.
- Required Texts (some title may vary):
Elizabeth Central Asia Under Russian Rule: A Study in Culture Change.
Ithaca: Cornell U. Press (1980).
Ahmed The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?
AnnemarieIslam: An Introduction. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press
M. Nazif The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed
Frontiers and War. Seattle: University of Washington Press (2002)
Audrey Long Years of Exile: Central Asian Refugees in Afghanistan and
Pakistan. New York: University Press of America, Inc. (1994)
- A. Undergraduate students course grades
will be based on:
Mid-Term exam = 30% of course grade
exam = 45% of course grade
An eight page (double-spaced typed) critical
comparative written review of two or three ethnographic case studies = 20% of
the course grade.
Participation in class discussions = 5% of the course grade.
examinations will be in class and essay type.
students are expected to submit a term paper in addition to taking the
exams. For graduate students course grades will be based on mid-term and final
Examination (worth 60% of the course grade), and a term paper (worth 40% of
the course grade).