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Regular version of the site

Politics and Society in Central Asia

2023/2024
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
6
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
When:
1 year, 3, 4 module

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course explores politics and society in contemporary post-Soviet Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). It will briefly cover Central Asian history in the Russian Empire and the USSR before proceeding with an analysis of its post-Soviet transformation(s). The course aims to provide students with understanding of key issues in political and societal developments in these countries. It covers a number of issues such as Russian/Soviet legacies; post-colonial/post-Soviet identities; state building and state fragility; ethnicity, language, nationhood, nation building and nationalism; (ethnic) conflict and violence; role of gender, family, religion, formal and informal networks and institutions in state-society relations; multiple forms of civil society and ambiguous impact of (external) development/democracy promotion efforts. The course will help students to acquire knowledge on the nature of state, politics and society in Central Asia, and develop critical thinking on variations in and drivers of political, economic, social and cultural transformations in this part of the world.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide students with understanding of key issues in political and societal developments in Central Asian countries.
  • To help students acquire knowledge on the nature of state, politics and society in Central Asia, and develop critical thinking on variations in and drivers of political, economic, social and cultural transformations in this part of the world.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • analyses post-Soviet transformation(s) in Central Asian countries
  • applies the concepts of state building and state fragility; ethnicity, language, nationhood, nation building and nationalism; (ethnic) conflict and violence to analysis of Central Asian politics and societies
  • compares multiple forms of civil society in Central Asia
  • demonstrates critical thinking on variations in and drivers of political, economic, social and cultural transformations in Central Asia
  • knows key issues in political and societal developments in Central Asian countries
  • knows the concepts of post-colonial/post-Soviet legacies and identities
  • understands the role of gender, family, religion, formal and informal networks and institutions in state-society relations in Central Asia
  • Identify main trends in current religious life of Central Asian societies
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Central Asia in the Russian Empire. Political transformations and nation-building in the Soviet period
  • Independence: experiencing post-colonial and post-Soviet
  • Peace-building, nation-building and state-building (I)
  • Religion
  • Religion II
  • Multiple facets of the state
  • Party systems in Central Asian States
  • Migration
  • Multiple forms of civil society: “local” ways and “universal” templates
  • Development: international involvement and its effects
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class participation
    The instructor grades the participation in discussions during seminars, answers to instructor’s questions and overall involvement in the in-class activities and group work.
  • non-blocking Test on literature and lectures
    10 questions of different format
  • non-blocking Group Presentation
    In the second-to-last seminar class, students are required to prepare an oral presentation on the topic of each class using a multimedia presentation, other visual, audio or video materials.
  • non-blocking Final Test
    The student must answer the questions of the final written test, which contains open- and closed-type tasks. Open-type tasks require independent addition of the proposed text, or filling in the gaps in the text, or free presentation of one's own answer to the proposed question. Closed-type tasks involve the use of alternative answers (only two answer options - yes or no); multiple choice (the presence of variability in the choice of an answer, when the student must choose one of the proposed options, among which one (or several) is correct), correspondence reconstruction (for the student to restore the correspondence between the elements of two lists; or between a text and a list; or between the elements of a list and a set of illustrations; or between an illustration and a list, etc.) and sequence reconstruction (where the student must choose one of the proposed options, among which one (or several) is correct).
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 4th module
    0.25 * Final Test + 0.25 * Group Presentation + 0.25 * Test on literature and lectures + 0.25 * In-class participation
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Adams, L., & Rustemova, A. (2009). Mass Spectacle and Styles of Governmentality in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Europe-Asia Studies, 61(7), 1249–1276. https://doi.org/10.1080/09668130903068798
  • Akiner, S. (1997). Melting pot, salad bowl——cauldron? Manipulation and mobilization of ethnic and religious identities in Central Asia. Ethnic & Racial Studies, 20(2), 362–398. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.1997.9993966
  • Babajanian, B., Freizer, S., & Stevens, D. (2005). Introduction: Civil society in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Central Asian Survey, 24(3), 209–224. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634930500310287
  • Beyer, J., Rasanayagam, J., & Reeves, M. (2013). Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia : Performing Politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=677473
  • Earle, L. (2005). Community development, ‘tradition’ and the civil society strengthening agenda in Central Asia. Central Asian Survey, 24(3), 245–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634930500310329
  • Jones Luong, P. (DE-588)124303307, (DE-576)18499859X. (2002). Institutional change and political continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia : power, perceptions, and pacts / Pauline Jones Luong. Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.098176676
  • Juraev, S. (2008). Kyrgyz democracy? The Tulip Revolution and beyond. Central Asian Survey, 27(3/4), 253–264. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634930802536464
  • Khalid, A. (2014). Islam After Communism : Religion and Politics in Central Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=691726
  • Laruelle, M. (2013). Migration and Social Upheaval in the Face of Globalization in Central Asia. Leiden: Brill. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=569840
  • Matteo Fumagalli. (2007). Framing ethnic minority mobilisation in Central Asia: The cases of Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Europe-Asia Studies, (4), 567. https://doi.org/10.1080/09668130701289869
  • Sahadeo, J., & Zanca, R. (2007). Everyday Life in Central Asia : Past and Present. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=642391
  • Scarborough, I. (2016). (Over)determining social disorder: Tajikistan and the economic collapse of perestroika. Central Asian Survey, 35(3), 439–463. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2016.1189679

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Dave, B. (2004). Entitlement through numbers: nationality and language categories in the first post-Soviet census of Kazakhstan. Nations & Nationalism, 10(4), 439–459. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1354-5078.2004.00176.x
  • de la Croix, J. F. (2013). Grounding Mobile Ideas: Kyrgyzstani NGO-leaders and the Notion of “Knowledge Transfer” as a Source of Social Cohesion. Zeitschrift Für Ethnologie, 138(2), 217–233. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=sih&AN=95973421
  • Fauve, A. (2015). Global Astana: nation branding as a legitimization tool for authoritarian regimes. Central Asian Survey, 34(1), 110–124. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2015.1016799
  • Ferrando, O. (2008). Manipulating the Census: Ethnic Minorities in the Nationalizing States of Central Asia. Nationalities Papers, 36(3), 489–520. https://doi.org/10.1080/00905990802080737
  • Kassymbekova, B. (2011). Helpless imperialists: European state workers in Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930s. Central Asian Survey, 30(1), 21–37. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2011.554052
  • Kluczewska, K. (2017). Benefactor, industry or intruder? Perceptions of international organizations in Central Asia – the case of the OSCE in Tajikistan. Central Asian Survey, 36(3), 353–372. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2017.1281220
  • Lemon, E. (2018). Critical approaches to security in Central Asia: an introduction. Central Asian Survey, 37(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2018.1435760
  • Paasiaro, M. (2009). Home-grown strategies for greater agency: reassessing the outcome of civil society strengthening in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. Central Asian Survey, 28(1), 59–77. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634930902796422
  • Radford, D. (2014). Contesting and negotiating religion and ethnic identity in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. Central Asian Survey, 33(1), 15–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2013.871831
  • Reeves, M. (DE-588)1016266871, (DE-576)267905742. (2014). Border work : spatial lives of the state in rural Central Asia / Madeleine Reeves. Ithaca, N.Y. [u.a.]: Cornell Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.407688234
  • Roche, S. (2014). Domesticating Youth : Youth Bulges and Their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan. New York: Berghahn Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=638350
  • Schatz, E. (2004). Modern Clan Politics : The Power of “Blood” in Kazakhstan and Beyond. Seattle, Wash: University of Washington Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=598289
  • Schröder, P. (2010). “Urbanizing” Bishkek: interrelations of boundaries, migration, group size and opportunity structure. Central Asian Survey, 29(4), 453–467. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2010.537143