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IRLS664 - Politics and Culture in Central Asia

Course Details

Course Code: IRLS664 Course ID: 4187 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

The region of Central Asia—located between Russia, China, India, and Europe—has emerged from obscurity in recent decades to become a key front in the war against international terrorism and radical Islam. This course explores the political and cultural history of Central Asia, as well as religious and social issues that impact the region’s governmental structures, foreign relations, and security. Students will explore the impact of Russian conquest and Soviet domination of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, as well as the Soviet- Afghan War (1979-1989), before moving on to an analysis of contemporary issues in government and politics in the region. Emphasis will be on the rise of Islamism, great power politics, U.S. involvement in the region after 9/11, “managed democracy,” corruption and economic development, and petropolitics.





Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
05/27/19 - 11/01/19 11/04/19 - 12/29/19 Fall 2019 Session I 8 Week session
07/29/19 - 01/03/20 01/06/20 - 03/01/20 Winter 2020 Session B 8 Week session
09/30/19 - 02/28/20 03/02/20 - 04/26/20 Winter 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

CO-1: Analyze historical and imperial factors that have shaped the region.

CO-2: Assess the relevancy of emerging concepts in international relations: security, modernity, liberal democracy.

CO-3: Comprehend the norms and purposes of international structures and regimes.

CO-4: Understand the various forms of globalization and impacts from various political, economic and social systems.

CO-5: Explain the co-existence of integration and disintegration regimes in the global community.

These course objectives harmonize with the Degree Program Objectives, which require graduates to:

  • Construct and criticize the theory and politics of conflict, war, diplomatic relations, and the evolving nature of the international system.
  • Function effectively in a research-active environment grounded in the study of international relations including its political, social, and economic aspects.
  • Assess how state, non-state, and supra-national actors behave and interact through a dynamic appreciation of different levels of analysis.
  • Critique the theories of international relations, the heritage and development of the discipline, its major debates, its inherent nature as an interdisciplinary study, and a critical appreciation of the essentially contested nature of politics in general, and international relations in particular.
  • Evaluate the nature and distribution of power in the international systems, the problems of political order and the social economic, historical and cultural context within which international actors operate.
  • Assess the current challenges to international order, cooperation, identity, social formations, and global issues, and possible strategies to address them.
  • Evaluate the changing role of the state in the context of globalization and regional integration and the implications for international peace and security.

Forum Participation – 30 percent

Discussion questions will be provided and posts should reflect an assimilation of the readings in responding to the assigned topic(s). Students are required to provide a substantive initial post by Thursday at 11:55 pm ET and respond to two or more classmates by Sunday 11:55 pm ET. Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas.

Progress Assignments – 30 percent

Course objectives are provided for each of the course modules. Using these as guideposts, summaries of the major themes covered in the first four Discussion Forums will be addressed in a mid-term assignment. Additionally, a multi-media presentation covering major themes will be assigned for response during Week 6. Specific guidelines are found in the Assignments folder.

Research Paper – 40 percent

Throughout this course you are expected to write a term paper between 2,500-3,500 words (double-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman with 1” margins). Your task will be to conduct a comparative analysis of two Central Asia Republics. You must make your selection in the “Term Paper” Forum by the end of Week Two. The intent of this assignment is for you to demonstrate a solid grasp of the changing nature of security and politics in Central Asia. As for the guidance on the context and mechanics of the paper, please read the materials in “Assignments.”

NameGrade %
Forum Discussions 30.00 %
Week One 3.75 %
Week Two 3.75 %
Week Three 3.75 %
Week Four 3.75 %
Week Five 3.75 %
Week Six 3.75 %
Week Seven 3.75 %
Week Eight 3.75 %
Progress Assingments 30.00 %
Mid-Term Essays 15.00 %
Presentation 15.00 %
Research Paper 40.00 %
Research Paper 40.00 %

Other classroom readings are available as open-source readings within the classroom.

More readings are available electronically within the classroom.

Additional Resources and Web Sites

Videos and web sites are available within the classroom and through the university electronic library.

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Links provided inside the classroom in the Lessons section.
Author:No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.