The ‘Stans: Central Asia in the Soviet Empire

History 103B.006

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
M 2-4P

This course has two principal goals: to emphasize the multi-national aspect of Soviet history and to study the formation of modern Central Asia. Students will be introduced to the culture and civilization of Turkestan and learn how this region was marked by its Soviet transformation into five separate republics. We will engage in debates on the nature of the Soviet empire; nation-making and boundary-drawing; the assault on Islam; women’s liberation; literary and cinematic representations of Central Asia; architecture and city-planning; the region as a model for the Third World; the invasion of Afghanistan and the collapse of the Soviet Union; and the region’s post-Soviet legacies. The course does not assume any prior knowledge of Central Asia; if you are unfamiliar with Soviet history, please contact the instructor for a good reference text to review before classes begin.

Charles Shaw is a Ph.D. candidate in Russian history.  His dissertation research focuses on interethnic relations in Soviet Uzbekistan during World War II. He has published on the making of the Soviet-Afghan/Iranian border and Soviet restoration practices of Islamic architecture.