MENAS 340 - From Genghis Khan to the Taliban: Modern Central Asia
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS)
Department: LSA II: Middle Eastern and North African Studies

More than 500 years ago, the Silk Road famously connected traders from all over the world, linking the major cities of China and Southeast Asia with those of Europe and Africa. Vast wealth traveled this route, wending across the mountains and steppes of Central Asia, creating rich and sophisticated towns along the way. Bukhara and Samarkand became two of the world's greatest cities, enviable centers of learning and culture.

  • How did Central Asia go from being the most cosmopolitan place on earth to an area now seen as one of the most isolated, remote places in the world?
  • How did a region where a dizzying array of cultures had long intermingled and coexisted peacefully become a place associated (at least in Western eyes) with intolerance and terrorism?

This course tries to answer such questions by providing an overview of modern Central Asian history. Using both lecture and discussion, it focuses on the colonial and post-colonial periods of the last 300 years: especially in Russian and Soviet Central Asia, but also the neighboring areas dominated by Britain and China (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang). It offers a strong emphasis on the links and connections across these political borders, which were at first largely artificial and porous but which became crucially important and shaped local communities in deeply divergent ways. It also emphasizes social and cultural history, as a complement and counterweight to the usual political frameworks and classic grand narratives of khans, revolutions, and wars. Three themes structure the course:

  1. the fragmented, changing character of regional identities;
  2. the complexities of popular attitudes towards, and relations with, various forms of state power; and
  3. the differences between — and the complicated economic, environmental, political, artistic, and cultural legacies of — the major imperial systems (Russian, British, Chinese).

Students will be evaluated on their class contributions as well as written work (short essays and class exercises) and two exams.

MENAS 340 - From Genghis Khan to the Taliban: Modern Central Asia
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
30914
Open
46
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (DIS)
P
30918
Open
2
 
-
W 3:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (DIS)
P
31031
Open
14
 
-
Th 10:00AM - 11:00AM
004 (DIS)
P
31035
Open
20
 
-
Th 11:00AM - 12:00PM
005 (DIS)
P
31039
Open
10
 
-
Th 1:00PM - 2:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 1403975426
The Palgrave concise historical atlas of central Asia, Author: Rafis Abazov., Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan 1st ed. 2008
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0253353858
Islamic Central Asia : an anthology of historical sources, Author: edited by Scott C. Levi and Ron Sela., Publisher: Indiana University Press 2010
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 025321310X
The hundred thousand fools of God : musical travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York), Author: Theodore Levin., Publisher: Indiana University Press Repr. 1999
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 1577662385
Buzkashi : game and power in Afghanistan, Author: G. Whitney Azoy., Publisher: Waveland Press 2. ed. 2003
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0142002607
Jihad : the rise of militant Islam in Central Asia, Author: Ahmed Rashid., Publisher: Penguin Books With a new 2003
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9781306494472
Silk Road to Ruin Why Central Asia is the Next Middle East., Publisher: NBM Publishing 2014
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 023113925X
Eurasian Crossroads A History of Xinjiang., Author: James A. Millward., Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr 2009
Optional
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 1780761228
Modern Afghanistan : a history of struggle and survival, Author: Amin Saikal., Publisher: I.B. Tauris New rev. p 2012
Optional
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0195338197
Central Asia in world history, Author: Peter B. Golden., Publisher: Oxford University Press 2011
Optional
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0521657040
A history of Inner Asia, Author: Svat Soucek., Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press Reprint. 2002
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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