[ENVS 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 peoplesâAzeri, 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 dominatedâdirectly or indirectlyâ-by the neighboring empires of Russia and China, among others. This interdisciplinary lecture-discussion course emphasizes the regionâs environment, which had the primary effect on the inhabitantsâ way of life, their history, and their marginalization in the modern era. Parts of the region are still described as belonging to the âThird Worldâ, 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 historyâs largest land empire. It more than once exerted epoch-making historical influence on its neighborsâincluding Europeâand survival techniques of its peoplesâfrom simple items such as use of the stirrup and dehydrated food to such practices as diplomatic immunity and parliamentary representationâbecame components of our modern life.
Central Asia: A Sense of Region
Also listed as History/Interdisciplinary Studies 249.
Open to first-year students.