History | Ethnic History of Central Asia
G300 | 29983 | Sela

A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA's only
Above class meets with CEUS-R411 and R611

The course is a survey of ethnic history of Central Asia from the
first centuries A.D. to the present time. Central Asia is defined as
the western part of Inner Asia; it stretches from the Caspian Sea in
the west to Eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang) in the east, and belongs
culturally to the Islamic world.

Throughout its history Central Asia has been a crossroads of
cultures and civilizations, and a connecting link between East Asia,
South Asia, the Near East and Eastern Europe. It was affected by
numerous migrations and invasions of various nomadic peoples up to
the 18th century. As a result of continuous movements of
populations, a very complicated ethnic map of modern Central Asia
emerged. During the 20th century, the interethnic relations in the
region were further affected by the imperial policies of the Soviet
Union and China, and by the rise of nationalism in the Central Asian

The course will discuss all these changes and will provide an
historical background for the understanding of interethnic relations
in contemporary Central Asia. We will address different theories of
ethnicity; migrations of peoples and their consequences, the
formations of ethnic groups, the impact of imperial powers upon the
construction of ethnic identity, the relationship between ethnicity,
nationalism and the modern state, ethnicity and language, and the
emergence of ethno-genesis in the independent republics of the
former Soviet Union and neighboring regions. Special attention will
be given to the Soviet typology of ethnicity and ethno-genesis.

Assignments & Grading:
Undergraduates: Two Exams (Each = 30%), as well as a blank map quiz
and several brief responses to the readings (40%).
Graduate students will take both exams (and the map quiz), write a
term paper, and be responsible for one in-class presentation.
No single textbook will be used.