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Lisa Moore Interim, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Fall 2008

WGS 301 • INTRODUCTION TO CENTRAL ASIA

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
48665 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
BUR 216
BUCKLEY, C

Course Description

The past 15 years have witnessed the "reemergence of the STANS" (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan) as countries of potential economic importance and critical geo-political interest. Similar to the period of the Great Game of the late 1800, developments within the region are strongly influenced by external economic and political interests. From the time of Marco Polo, through the rule of regional khanates, imperial conquest, state socialist rule, religious revivalism, and most recently the rise of international terrorism, the countries of Central Asia have been at the global cross roads of competing political, economic, social and religious movements. This course seeks to familiarize students with the region, focusing upon historical and contemporary trends in the relationships between the rulers and the ruled. Through this focus we can better understand the role of gender in Central Asian societies, the context of ethnic hostilities, and the importance of religion for the seven countries of the region. Examining these topics through films, readings, and lectures will provide students with the opportunity to better understand civil society in this increasingly important region of the globe. The course will be divided into three sections. In the first section, we will focus on, What is Central Asia?, familiarizing ourselves with the basic geography and social settings in the region. In the second section we will focus on, how can we analyze the region sociologically?, highlighting issues of basic social theory and comparative analysis. The third section of the course turns to the question, Why does Central Asia matter?, providing participants with the opportunity to link what we have learned about the region and social theory into evaluating global issues concerning human rights, citizenship, identity, and civil society.

Grading Policy

Course evaluations will be based upon 4 categories of assignments, totaling 250 possible points. We intend to grade on a straight scale, but reserve the right to lower the scale depending upon the class distribution. 1. Hourly Examinations Two in class examinations (consisting of multiple choice, true/false, and (very) short essay questions), worth 50 points each will be held on October 10 (Friday) and November 21 (Friday). 2. Group Assignments Two assignments focusing upon a specific country in the region are required, one will focus on poverty and social stratification and the second will focus on citizenship issues. Each assignment will be worth 20 points and groups will be assigned in class. 3. Short comment papers There will be 4 options for short (1 typed page 12 pitch font 1 inch margins) comment papers throughout the term. Each participant is expected to complete two comment papers. Each paper will be worth 10 points. Additional comment papers may be completed for extra credit.

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