Property in Central Eurasia
A land of nomads and industrialists, communists and capitalists, media moguls and pirates all at the same time, Central Eurasia has been a testing ground-and battleground-for some of society’s greatest experiments in property: what can (or should) be owned, who can own it, and what they can do with it. This course explores the development of conceptions of property and property rights in Central Eurasia, from the establishment of rights over hunting and grazing grounds to fights over copyright and patents. We will focus on the movement of ideas across this diverse territory, drawing on historical and contemporary examples from Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Mongolia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Topics covered include theories of the “commons,” state socialist conceptions of property, post-Soviet privatization, pastoral nomadic land management, intellectual property, and the politics of access to gold, copper, and other mineral rights-as well as the crime and corruption that accompany ideas of ownership.