Indiana University Bloomington
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Central Asia under Russian Rule



This class carries COLL S & H distribution credit

“Central Asia under Russian Rule” surveys the history of the complex relations between Russia and Central Asia. We will explore the Russian expansion into the region in the 16th century and the conquest of Central Asia in the 19th century, discuss the political and social developments under Russian rule, and conclude with the emergence of modern nations in Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s.

Central Asia is defined as the western part of Inner Asia, stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to Eastern Turkestan (Xinjinag) in the east, including the modern republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

The main topics to be discussed are:

Early trade relations between Russia and Central Asia.
The motives for and the course of Russian expansion into the region.
Russian colonial rule: law, education, administration, economy and culture, Russian migration and colonization.
Russian indirect rule over its Central Asian protectorates, Bukhara and Khiva.
Economic development and modernization under Russian rule.
National movements and uprisings in Central Asia.
The 1917 Revolution and the Civil War in Central Asia.
The emergence of modern nation states.
The evaluation of the Russian conquest and Russian rule in Central Asia in modern historiography.

The course offers insights into the mechanisms of Empire, into the multifaceted dynamics of the relations between Conqueror and Conquered, and into the colonial administration of Islamic peoples.

Regions Covered

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Historical Central Eurasia


Department of Central Eurasian Studies