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Practicing Modernity:State and Society in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies or the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research). MA students from other programmes who want to take this course should contact Prof. Dr. T. Atabaki before the course starts.


This course aims to develop an understanding of historical backdrop of events in the former Soviet Central Asia during the twentieth century. The course 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.

Course objectives

The objective of this course to familiarise students with the emergence of modern nations from the perspective of both history and critical theory. It further aims to give students the necessary analytical tools to compare, contrast and investigate the interaction between historically produced knowledge and narratively processed information pertaining to the concept of modernity and nationalism in the diverse Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asian societies.



Mode of instruction

Literature seminar.

Assessment method

Attendance, Reflection Papers and Participation in Debates 50%
Final Research Paper 50%


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