Anthropology | PEOPLES AND CULTURES CENTRAL ASIA
E398 | 0363 | Shahrani
A general anthropological introduction to the societies and cultures of
the contemporary Muslim successor states of former Soviet Central Asia,
Western China (Xinjiang) and the adjacent areas of Iran and Afghanistan
--i.e., 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, socio-political 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, China, and the
modern nation states of Iran and Afghanistan. The dynamics of
post-September 11, 2001, 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 titles may vary):
Bacon, Elizabeth Central Asia Under Russian Rule: A Study in
Culture Change. Ithaca: Cornell U. Press (1980)
Benson, Lind & Ingvar Svanberg China's Last Nomads: The History and
Culture of China's Kazaks
Rashid, Ahmed The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?
Schimmel, Annemarie Islam: An Introduction. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press
Shahrani, M. Nazif The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation
to Closed Frontiers and War. Seattle: University of Washington Press
Shalinsky, Audrey Long Years of Exile: Central Asian Refugees in
Afghanistan and Pakistan. New York: University Press of America, Inc.
Rumer, Boris Z. Soviet Central Asia: "A tragic experiment". Boston: Unwin
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, Shalinsky, and Benson &
Svanberg = 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).