CA 501 Empire, Identity, and Modernity: topics in the history of Central Asia
Christopher Baker, PhD, History
This course will survey the history of Central Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries, a period in which the Russian Empire completed its conquest of Central Asia and in which local populations attempted to come to terms with the unsettling impact of modernity and colonization. Focusing on a broad range of subjects, including issues of gender and sexuality, the Russian imagination of “Asia,” the formation of ethnic and national identities, as well as intellectual, political, and cultural trends, the course is meant to ground students in the historical literature on the era as well as to highlight areas that have received little study. Beginning with the 18th century, the course will trace Central Asian history up to the eve of the Soviet Revolution, a historical moment in which local intellectuals were attempting to shape the tangled historical identities that marked the Central Asian past into more coherent ethnic and national forms. The first several weeks of the course will provide students historical background to the region as well as introduce different theoretical approaches to the study of empire, ethnic and national identity, and modernity.