In 1991 there
was much hope that the Soviet‑era totalitarian society and command economy in
Central Asia would be replaced with market-based democracies. Yet, after a decade of independence it
is obvious that transition in Central Asia has been not toward democracy and
pluralism, but to different forms of authoritarianism. The course focuses on domestic and
international politics of the five Central Asian states -- Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It will analyze the causes of the failed political and
uneven results of economic transitions, discuss the growing role of Islam in
domestic politics, and examine the growing geopolitical significance of the
region following the development of its hydrocarbon resources and the events of
September 11, 2001, and the start of the operation “Enduring Freedom.” It will
examine the implications of the ‘multi-color’ revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine,
and Kyrgyzstan for political development of the region. The course will cover such issues as
the development and transportation of Caspian basin oil and gas resources, the
role of Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan play in regional politics.
Pomfret, Richard. The
Economies of Central Asia.
Denoon, David, ed. China, the United States, and the Future of
Schatz, Edward. Modern
Cummings, Sally. Understanding
Collins, Kathleen. Clan
Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia.
Harris, Colette. Muslim
Youth: Tensions and Transitions in Tajikistan.
Khalid, Adeeb. Islam
after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia.
Sahadeo, Jeff and Zanca, Russell,
eds. Everyday Life in Central Asia.
The goal of the course is to focus
on politics and society in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) since its independence in 1991. We will begin
with a review of historical legacies that shape Central Asian societies and
politics. We will then examine the emergence of the five independent states and
assess political and economic reforms that have taken place since 1991. Particular
attention will be paid to Islam and its role in everyday life and politics of
Central Asian states. We will conclude with an investigation into the role
played by outside actors in the region and their influence on domestic and
foreign policies of the five countries.
In class, the emphasis is placed on
the discussion of both the assigned readings and divergent interpretations of
post-independence developments in the region.
Goals for Student Learning
At the conclusion of the course,
the students will become knowledgeable about the main political actors in
Central Asia and be able to navigate and analyze the complexities of Central
Students should scan regularly http://enews.fergananews.com; http://www.eurasianet.org; http://www.rferl.org/section/central_asia/172.html;
or other media sources for the coverage of events in Central Asia. As of
September 24, each class will begin with a short discussion of the most recent
developments in the region.
are required to submit a research paper (at least 30 pages long) at the end of
the semester and actively participate in class discussions. Research paper and class participation
will account for 50% of the grade each.
have an option to convert their research papers into a seminar paper. The
required length of a seminar paper is at least 45 pages. Title pages, works
cited pages, and bibliographies do not count towards the page count for the