American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Courses





ANTH 101 Cultural Concepts and Social Networks
3 credits

This course introduces the students to various contemporary cultures and provides the content for further study in cultural anthropology. It examines human diversity across cultures, respecting the differences and searching for similarities.


ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology
3 credits

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with stages of development of humankind, and the creation of material and spiritual cultures; types archaeological monuments; methods of archeological research. Students also learn the place of archaeology within the context of the social sciences and how to use archaeological sources


ANTH 120 International Development: Donors, NGOs, Communities and Culture

3 credits

This course will introduce students to the field of development and to the role that anthropologists play in it. It will look at the major theories of development, such as modernization, dependency, Marxism, sustainability, and post-development. It will review major directions of the development work, such as participatory development, use of indigenous knowledge, micro-credit schemes, natural and cultural resources management, politics of development, etc. It will introduce students to the nature of development projects and main principles of working with the communities, donors and local governments. Finally, this course will introduce students to the development discourse in the context of Central Asia. Currently, Kyrgyzstan, due to favorable political climate, large numbers of international and local development organizations and thousands of realized development initiatives, can be seen almost like a development lab of Central Asia. Guest lecturers from development organizations will be invited and students will have an array of implemented projects to analyze for their course assignments. All in all, this course will be essential for anthropology students thinking of a career in applied anthropology and interested in the contemporary issues of developing nations.


ANTH 302 Field Research Methods
3 credits

This course introduces students to qualitative research methods, concentrating on the tools of ethnography: interview techniques, survey methods and data analysis. Students will gain practical experience in preparation of a research proposal, interviewing, and the use of life histories and case studies.


ANTH 200 Fieldwork (Anthropology)
3 credits

This course introduces students to practical, hands-on fieldwork that will be done in a particular off-campus setting. The students will have an opportunity to implement their learning using theory-informed techniques at the research site(s), as well as compiling and analyzing data post-fieldwork.


ANTH 301 Fieldwork (Archaeology)
3 credits

Students will use various kinds of archaeological methods, such as the investigation of archaeological monuments, dating, synchronization, and excavation. Students have the opportunity to participate in archaeological object fact-finding trips within the region, such as in Bishkek, Balykchy, Bel-Saz, Chap, Kochkor, Bashy-Sook, Son-Kol, Tash-Rabat, and Ak-Olon. At the end of the practicum, the student presents his or her diary and a complete report of the fieldwork for certification by the instructors.


ANTH 200 History of Anthropological Theory
3 credits
Prerequiste: ANTH 101

This course is designed to introduce students to the history of anthropological theory. Attention is paid to the national traditions of anthropology in England, America and France, focusing on the major personalities and theoretical orientations of the field since the 19th century.


ANTH 410 Senior Seminar
3 credits

This course is designed especially for students in the first semester of their senior year to help them prepare to write the senior thesis in the spring semester. Students learn how to formulate a thesis, articulate claims based on reasons and present reasons based on evidence. The techniques and craft of writing a draft and making systematic revisions are honed so that students can meet the high standard of writing demanded by the senior thesis.





ANTH 132 Races, Human Diversity and Biology
3 credits

This course is devoted to the study of human evolution and the body structure of humans. The class also considers different theories about human origin. Students learn about skeletal analysis, historical and modern views of race, and biological processes.


ANTH 220 Archaeology of Central Asia
3 credits
Prerequisite: ANTH 110

This course is devoted to the study of the archaeological cultures of Mongolia, Southern Siberia, Altai, Central Asian countries and Eastern Turkestan/Xinjiang. Students will become familiar with archaeological monuments from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages and with new interpretations of archaeological data. This course is taught at the most modern level of scientific knowledge in the archaeology of Central Asia.


ANTH 224 Folklore of Central Asia
3 credits

This course is devoted to an overview of works from various cultures considered to be in the oral tradition, with a special focus on Central Asian oral tradition. Students will seek out themes and symbols recurring throughout the network and explore various interpretations. Commonality and divergence of theme, symbol and motifs will be discussed.


ANTH 310 Gender, Kinship and Family
3 credits

Within contemporary kinship discipline, it has become important to inquire about practices and the meanings of relationships and the language used about relationships as a starting point for analysis of kinship in different societies. Many kinship systems existed in the past and many still exist today. Students examine kinship systems and analyze theoretical debates concerning concepts: kinship and marriage, kinship and gender, and Kinship and household.


ANTH 330 Religion and Spirituality as Cultural Categories
3 credits

Religion has always been one of the most important topics in anthropology. Since the earliest expeditions, anthropologists have sought to understand the often-unusual religious practices they encountered. People’s views of their origins, the supernatural, and a moral life are based on a set of shared ideas they learn as they grow up in a given society. In this course the students look at themes that have guided the anthropology of religion throughout the centuries. It also aims to present, analyze and discuss various religious phenomena, such as rituals and sacred sites, witchcraft and sorcery, death and spirit possession. The course concentrates on traditional religions and the non-formal practices of major religions.


ANTH 421 Professional Practice and Project Management
3 credits

Applied Anthropology is a specialized approach to doing anthropology, which attempts to apply anthropological methods and data to help solve the world’s problems. Students discuss issues and problems relevant to economics, human health, social institutions, politics, education and many other areas where human problems exist.


ANTH 231 Language, Culture and Power
3 credits

An introduction to the study of language viewed through the prism of culture. Issues examined include languages of the world, variation in language, problems in linguistic structure, and culture and communication.


ANTH 376 Power, State and Informal Politics in Central Asia
3 credits

Humans living in groups make collective decisions about organizing social activities, allocating and using resources, and maintaining security and stability within society. In negotiating decisions people rely upon ideologies, concepts and practices learned in the culture of daily life as well as in the more formalized practices of performances and rituals. Political anthropologists study the ways that social status, authority and power are created and used to shape collective and individual action, and the ways that authority is legitimated through cultural performances.


ANTH 235 Peoples and Cultures of Central Asia
3 credits

This interdisciplinary course is an introduction to the ethnology, history and culture of Central Asia from ancient times to the present day. Ethno-historical and cultural survey will take in those regions, which today comprise former Soviet republics (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) and Mongolia, Northern Afghanistan and Northern India. Students examine ways in which Central Asia and its sedentary and pastoral cultures have been central to the world history and civilizations. Through primary and secondary readings, class discussion and audio-visual materials, students also become familiar with theories and methodologies used to study ethnic and cultural identity.


ANTH 225 Peoples and Cultures of Oceania
3 credits

In this course students will take a journey into the incredibly beautiful islands lost in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and into Australia, land of kangaroos, koalas and boomerangs. This course is designed so that students learn about the myths and legends of the ancient islanders, brave warriors and first conquerors of the Great Pacific, and about traditions and unique knowledge of the aboriginal people of Australia, to understand what constitutes the simplicity and beauty of their culture, lifestyle and social customs.


ANTH 259 Peoples and Cultures of Middle East
3 credits

This course presents a short introduction to the Middle Eastern region. Since the Middle East is a vast region occupying the modern territories of North Africa, the Near East, the Arab Peninsula as well as Israel, Turkey and Iran, the course will deal only with the region’s key issues: traditional structure of the society and its traditional and moral values, the Islamic religion and its involvement into the politics, folk culture and printed media, theatre, cinema and visual art. Special lectures will be devoted to the position of women in the region and the implications brought to the region by globalization.


ANTH 201 Human and Culture Co-Evolution

3 credits

Course goal is to show that an evolutionary framework, which by definition is based on time flowing, can unify the concepts of human origins, changes and cultural diversity. The course will present human diversity in a dynamic concept where human expansions over time and geographical space have fashioned our present biological and cultural world. You can understand how biological and cultural theories have themselves evolved in an attempt to paint a more and more precise picture of human evolution, both in a genetic and anthropological framework.


ANTH 320 Ethnicity and Identity in Multicultural Societies

3 credits

Prerequisite: ANTH 101

The course will introduce the key definitions, methods and main approaches to the study of ethnicity and ethnic identity, ethnic stratification and ethnic relations in multiethnic states. It will discuss the relationship between ethnicity and culture, ethnicity and race, ethnicity and nationalism, ethnicity and democracy. The course will study the origins of ethnic conflicts, the ways of its prevention and resolution, and finally the contradiction existing between ethnicity and globalization.


ANTH 208 Religion and Culture of Japan

3 credits

The course will introduce the unique culture of Japan that is the result of the development of Japan from the ancient time till nowadays. It will discuss two main religions of Japan, Shinto and Buddhism, Bushido – the way of the warriors, Japanese festivals, arts, and theatre and modern life of the Japanese. The modern Japanese culture is a response to the drastic changes brought by modernization and globalization.






HIST 108 History of Kyrgyzstan
3 credits

This course is a survey from earliest times to the present. The course familiarizes students with Kyrgyz history, ethnic groups and religious institutions, as well as with social, political and economic developments that have combined to form the Kyrgyz nation. Emphasis is on the development and major characteristics of Kyrgyz history, and on the roles and contributions of historical leaders and individuals. The key periods are Ancient, Turkic, Kyrgyz, Mongol, Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet. Class presentations focus on selected and significant events that shaped the development of the political, cultural, scientific and economic institutions of the Kyrgyz people and Kyrgyzstan.


HIST 222 History of Central Asia
3 credits

The course will present an interpretive history of Central Asia, focusing on the dynamics of interaction and development that have brought a great diversity of peoples together to shape the region over thousands of years. Our approach to such a deep and rich history, with so many significant figures, important chapters and wonderful legacies, is to emphasize the relations and commonalities among peoples, and the great continuity in the historical processes that have shaped the region and given rise to the cultural forms that we observe.

American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028