Anthropology | Peoples and Cultures of Central Asia
E600 | 27076 | Shahrani
A general 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
and southern Turkistan. Topics include ecology, ethnohistory and the
structure of traditional subsistence strategies (nomadic pastoralism,
sedentary farming, and urban mercantilism); social institutions
(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):
Bacon, Elizabeth Central Asia Under Russian Rule: A Study in
Culture Change. Ithaca: Cornell U. Press (1980).
Luong, Paulin Jones The Transformation of Central Asia: States and
Societies From Soviet Rule to Independence. Cornell U Press (2004)
Roy, Olivier The New Central Asia: The Creation of Nations. New
York U Press (2000)
Schimmel, Annemarie Islam: An Introduction. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press(1992)
Shahrani, M. Nazif The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan:
Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War. Seattle: University of
Washington Press (2002)
A. Undergraduate students course grades will be based on:
Mid-Term exam = 30% of course grade
Final exam = 45% of course grade
An eight page (double-spaced typed) critical comparative written
review of the three ethnographic case studies by Shahrani, Roy, and
Loung et al = 20% of the course grade.
Participation in class discussions = 5% of the course grade.
All examinations will be in class and essay type.
B. Graduate 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). A
topic for the paper should be chosen in consultation with the
instructor. The completed research paper should be 15 to 20 pages long
(double spaced and type written).