Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

A Global Crossroads Reemerges in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction to Central Asia

The Where and Why of Central Asia As a scholar of Central Asia, I have frequently been asked two questions by students and colleagues over the course of my career: Where is Central Asia, and why is it important? Strangely, the first question is often more difficult to answer precisely than the second. The terms “Central Asia,” “Inner Asia,” and more recently “Central Eurasia” all refer to a region that is marked by a frustrating imprecision of location. Here I will consider Central ...

Feature Article

Ignored Constitutions and Predatory Presidents: Examining Central Asian Authoritarianism

In what turned out to be the waning decades of the Soviet Union, outside observers often suggested that the largely Turkic and Islamic population of Central Asia represented a threat to the USSR. Specifically, many expected that societal demands emanating from the region—whether in the name of nationalism, pan-Turkism, or Islamism—could lead to either a weakening of the Soviet Union or even its dissolution. In line with these expectations, there is evidence that in the 1980s two countries wi...

Online Supplement

Terrorism in Central Asia: Dynamics, Dimensions, and Sources

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Central Asia has experienced a deluge of religious activity. All of the Central Asian republics—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan —have seen the rapid construction of new mosques; the opening of madrassas; and a noticeable upswing in Muslim consciousness, evidenced in a marked increase in the practitioners of Islam. Along with moderate and traditional forms of Islam, radical and militant Islamic trends have als...

Online Supplement

Basic Facts: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

KYRGYZSTAN Geography and Population [caption id="attachment_9180" align="alignright" width="300"] President Almazbek Atambayev Source: Creative Commons.[/caption] Area: 124,244 square miles; slightly smaller than the area of South Dakota. Population: 5.55 million. Government Type: Republic Chief of State: President Almazbek Atambayev. Head of Government: Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev (appointed by president). Elections: Popular vote every six years. Legislative Bran...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Central Asia

CENTRAL ASIA AND THE SILK ROADS Silk Road Foundation URL: http://tiny.cc/u5go5w For anyone who wants information and historical facts about the Silk Roads, this is a good resource. There are historical chronologies and short biographies of those who traveled the Silk Roads, dating back to 959 BC, timelines, the history of silk, and maps. Silk Road URL: http://tiny.cc/jxj46w Produced by Jeffrey Hays, this site is rich in resources. There are details about the routes, the products, Samar...

Film Review Essay

Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan

DIRECTED BY PETER LOM COLOR, 51 MINUTES, 2004 FIRST RUN/ICARUS FILMS 32 COURT STREET, 21ST FLOOR BROOKLYN, NY 11201 www.frif.com Kyrgyz society, like societies in all the emerging states in former Soviet Central Asia, is struggling with the clash of “traditional” values and modernization. The tradition of ala kachuu, or bride kidnapping, has received a considerable amount of attention by both Western and Kyrgyz scholars in recent years. Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan opens this controv...

Book Review, Resources

Central Asia: A Global Studies Handbook

SANTA BARBARA: ABC-CLIO, 2005 467 PAGES, HARDBACK, ISBN 1-85109-656-6 Most Americans know little about the vast area called Central Asia. Today it has been arbitrarily redefined as five countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Yet, historically, culturally, geographically, and politically, much links this region that further confounds those who want to study about these five countries. Created by Reuel Hanks, Central Asia: A Global Studies Handbook has se...

Feature Article

Muslims at the Crossroads: An Introductory Survey of Historical and Contemporary Aspects of Islam in Central Asia

Central Asia Reemerges Central Asia has reappeared as a player in the ebb and flow of international relations. Ironically, the region the political geographer Halford J. MacKinder called “the geographical pivot of history” in 19041 was for most of the twentieth century consigned to the sidelines, as world wars and their geopolitical aftermath carried other actors to center stage. Yet at many earlier historical junctures, Central Asia had served as a crossroads, linking Asian, European, and ...

Feature Article

The Silk Roads: An Educational Resource

The Silk Roads, an incurably romantic subject which offers a splendid source for secondary school teachers and students alike, linked the civilizations of Eurasia for much of premodern history, starting as early as the second century, B.C.E., if not earlier. China, Central Asia, West Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Europe, were placed in touch with each other via the Silk Roads. The economic significance of their contacts in pre–1500 history may have been exaggerated, but their cultural impact...

Feature Article

Central Asia and “Levels” of Development

Studying development levels and processes is an important aspect of learning about Asia. The Asian continent contains countries that span an incredibly large range of developmental levels—from advanced developed countries, such as Japan, to least developed countries, such as Afghanistan, with some of the fastest growing “newly industrialized” countries in between (e.g., the People’s Republic of China). Often, it is the habit of students (and instructors) to group countries into these thr...
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