Indiana University Bloomington
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U599/E600 Seminar on Social Change in Central Asia
Nazif Shahrani 

This seminar examines the experiences of contemporary Muslim Central Asian societies under Chinese and Russian rule, both colonial and Communist, and compares them with the experiences of Muslims in the neighboring states of Iran and Afghanistan. Specifically, the seminar will explore comparatively how dominant contemporary political ideologies shaped policies of economic development and social change in Central Asia. Furthermore, the course will systematically assess the social, economic and political consequences of state directed social change policies and strategies, and their impact upon the future prospects of the Muslim peoples of this increasingly volatile region. Significant Western social science theories, methods and concepts for the study of social change will provide the framework for discussion and analysis.

The first part of the seminar will be devoted to the reading and critical discussion of: a) theoretical and methodological literature on the study of social change in general; b) materials on ideological and philosophical orientations underlying the policies and methods of introducing economic modernization and social change by various states in Central Asia; and c) a significant number of case studies (historical and ethnographic) describing the nature, dynamics and outcome of programs of directed social and economic change in the region. In the latter part of the seminar, students are expected to make an oral presentation of their term projects focusing on comparative examination of particular dimensions of the problems and processes of social and economic change in Central Asia which they find of special interest. The students are also expected to present the results of their term project, following the critical discussion of their oral presentation in class, in the form of a written paper, no longer than twenty five (25) double-spaced, typed pages.

Required Readings [the Fall 1999 reading will vary substantially]:

Course Requirements:

Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions, lead at least one class discussion, make an oral presentation of a term project, and submit it in written form as a term paper.

Days and Time: Thursdays 2:30-5:00.