[HIST 249] Central Asia: A Sense of Region


Between the Caspian Sea and the region of Lake Baikal, Central Asia is a region of millions of square miles, inhabited by non-Slavic and non-Chinese peoples—Azeri, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Mongol, Tajik, Tibetan, Turkmen, Uighur, Uzbek, et al. Although their number is close to 100 million, we know little of their way of life and their societies, and even less of their histories and their aspirations. They are now resuming the course of their independent development, after being dominated—directly or indirectly—-by the neighboring empires of Russia and China, among others. This interdisciplinary lecture-discussion course emphasizes the region’s environment, which had the primary effect on the inhabitants’ way of life, their history, and their marginalization in the modern era. Parts of the region are still described as belonging to the ‘Third World’, while others are making promising moves toward modernization. Beyond a strategic location and an abundance of natural resources, Central Asia is rich in tradition. It was the center of history’s largest land empire. It more than once exerted epoch-making historical influence on its neighbors, including Europe, and survival techniques of its peoples—from simple items such as use of the stirrup and dehydrated food to such practices as diplomatic immunity and parliamentary representation—became components of our modern life.

Course Title

Central Asia: A Sense of Region

Course Code

HIST 249

Units

1

Cross-Lists

Also listed as Environmental Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies 249.

Notes

Open to first-year students.

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