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Practicing Modernity in Central Asia and the Caucasus


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures or the Research Master Area Studies: Asia and the Middle East. MA students from other programmes who want to take this course should contact Prof. Dr. T. Atabaki before the course starts.


Analyzing the Tsarist colonial rule, the course will critically engage in the sociological aspects of the reform movement that eventually led to the formation of modern political intelligentsias in the early twentieth century. It will examine the rise of the Soviet Union, the demarcation of the region leading to the construction of territorial entities, the Sovietisation of socio-political life and the emergence of the new ethno-territorial identities. The course will further explore the complex interplay between security concerns, conflict management, and development interventions in the post-Soviet Caucuses and Central Asia.
Also, the course will review the process of transition for the newly established republics towards independence and state-building discussing extensive local/regional discords, ethno-religious conflicts, global challenges, economic adversities and environmental calamities that they have confronted. Finally, given the strategic importance of the region, the course will examine the socio-politico-economic possibilities and impediments that the Caucuses and Central Asia have experienced.

Course objectives

This course aims to develop an understanding of historical backdrop of events in the former Soviet South; the Caucasus and Central Asia during the nineteenth/ twentieth century.


This course is (provisionally) scheduled on Thursdays, 15.00 -17.00 hs. (NB Time has changed!) Timetable

Mode of instruction

Literature seminar.

Assessment method

Will be announced during class.


Not applicable

Reading list

Will be announced during class.


Registration for this course is compulsory.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Prof. Dr. T. Atabaki