Meet the ‘Stans from Central Asia traces the political, cultural, economic and military history of today’s five Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. We will learn about their evolution from a nomadic cattle-rearing society to the modern era of launching spacecraft, highlighting what has changed in the day-to-day existence, and what has remained largely unchanged at the core.
Using readings, outside speakers, videos and photographs, each of the five nations will be discussed, starting with its development in the final years of the USSR, then with its leap to independence, and the subsequent years of nation building. There are many common themes, including the struggles to reassert (or create) a unifying national identity, to create functioning economies after the post-Soviet economic collapse, the tensions of overlapping ethnic groups, the resurgence of interest in traditional Islam, and a strong tendency towards authoritarian one-party rule.
Students should leave this course with a better understanding of the heritage and recent history of these five former Soviet republics of Central Asia which comprise a sprawling, politically pivotal, densely populated and richly cultured area of the world.
For more information about the course, refer to the following links: