History of Central Asia & Afghanistan

Course description History of Central Asia & Afghanistan
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5852VCAA
Teacher(s):
  • Dr. G.R. van den Berg
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 5
Level: 200
Period: Semester 1, Block I, II
  • Yes Elective choice
  • Yes Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

None.

Description

Central Asia is a vast region with a rich history in which a multitude of languages are spoken; the birthplace of great empires and the crossroads of many different cultures. Its fluid borders stretch into present-day Afghanistan, Russia, China, Mongolia, Iran and the Caucasus. The history of this region is closely intertwined with the so-called Silk Road, a pre-modern highway of global interaction. Today Central Asia is increasingly important as a focal point of the geopolitical interests and global ambitions of world powers such as for example China’s New Silk Road initiative. This course will focus on the background of Central Asia and Afghanistan today, starting with a multifaceted historical overview of the region – from the heartland of the Silk Road and its empires to a buffer zone for colonial powers, leading to the more recent history, when the term ‘Central Asia’ became more and more synonymous to the five ‘stans’ which came into existence during the first decennia of the former Soviet Union. How are the now independent republics of Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan grappling with their Soviet heritage and the more distant past and how have these republics tried to shape a national identity by (re)inventing and creating a national history? How about developments in Afghanistan, with its ethnic make-up directly corresponding to the ‘nationalities’ of the Central Asian Republics? What is the role of Islam and other religions in Afghanistan and in present day Central Asian society? How does this relate to what is today understood as the Middle East? Key issues in this course will be empire building, cultural space, identity formation, nationalism, state ideologies, geopolitics and heritage.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide a solid background into the history and current issues of a region that has often been thought of as a periphery, caught between the great powers of Asia and the Middle East.

Timetable

Collegerooster

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Course Load

Total course load: 140 hrs

  • Lectures: 26
  • Literature study / exam preparation: 110
  • Exams: 2x2 hrs = 4

Assessment method

  • Mid-term examination: written examination with short open questions and multiple choice questions
  • End-term examination: written examination with short open questions and essay questions

Weighing

The final mark is established by determining the weighted average:

  • Mid-term exam: 50%
  • Final exam: 50%

Resit

Written examination with a combination of short open questions, multiple choice and essay questions (100%).

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for:

  • information, communication, discussion
  • assignments

Reading list

A selection of readings from:

  • Thomas J. Barfield, Afghanistan. A Cultural and Political History. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2010.
  • Nile Green (ed.). Writing Travel in Central Asian History. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2014.
  • Adeeb Khalid. Islam after Communism and Politics in Central Asia. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2014.
  • ott Levi & Ron Sela. Islamic Central Asia. An Anthology of Historical Sources. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2009.
  • unhee Park. Mapping the Chinese and Islamic Worlds. Cross-Cultural Exchange in Pre-Modern Asia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012.
  • Svat Soucek, A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000.
  • Other readings TBA.

Registration

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact

“Dr. G.R. van den Berg”: http://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/gabrielle-van-den-berg

Remarks

Languages