Center for Global Affairs

Transformations in Central Asia: A Global Context

The region of Central Asia is a fabulous mosaic. Its complex history, vast landscape, diverse ethnic, linguistic and religious populations, and contemporary geopolitical importance make it an area of the world that is both complex and critical to understand and appreciate. The region of Central Asia in the context of this course refers to the five states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The region is especially important at this juncture in history due to its rich natural resource base, fragile political and economic situation following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the region?s location in relation to its closest neighbors, Russia and China. Since 1991, many governments, non-governmental organizations and investors have actively tried to engage the region through international development assistance around the support for democratic institution building and most critically, in and around the direction of energy supply and security. The year 1991 was pivotal in that it officially severed the relationship between Moscow and the republics that comprised what was the Soviet Union. Since then, the region is engaged in a difficult process of transition, renewal, and redefinition. It is vital in this connection to consider the ?historical residue? in Central Asia, where centuries of migrations, colonization, and war have created a unique ethnic, religious and cultural mix of peoples and ideologies. This special seminar introduces students to the region of Central Asia with a brief historical overview and a look at each of the five states, and then moves towards developing a more in-depth look at the energy sector with specific attention to the energy rich Caspian and its key player, Kazakhstan. The geopolitical positioning of the region, and the engagement of three great powers, China, the United States and Russia, is also examined.
Course Number
Associated Degrees