HIST 3035 FS 14



HIST 3035


Lecture Time: MWF 9:05-10:00am                   Meeting Place: McMicken 354

Instructor: Robert Haug                          Email: haugrt@ucmail.uc.edu

Office Hours: Mon. 10:00-11:00am, Wed. 1:30-2:30pm, and by appointment

Office: McMicken 331

Course Description: This course examines the history and culture(s) of Afghanistan and Central Asia (primarily the Central Asian Republics (CARs) of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, but also including Khurasan in northeastern Iran and Xinjiang in eastern China). Beginning with the arrival of Islam in the region in the 7th century and continuing up through the conflicts taking place in the region today, this course will provide a background for understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia, its strategic role in modern geopolitics, and its place in current events. Along the way we will cover topics as diverse as the tensions between nomadic steppe culture and settled society, the Mongol Empire, the Great Game, buzkashi (the sport of “goat grabbing”), Soviet involvement in the CARs and Afghanistan, and the War on Terror.

The primary goal of this course is to provide a deeper understanding of Afghanistan and Central Asia, the region’s people, past, and present with an eye towards placing current events and media coverage of these events into an informed historical perspective.

This course meets the Baccalaureate Competencies in Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Information Literacy, and Knowledge Integration.

This course counts towards the certificate in Middle Eastern Studies. For more information about the certificate in Middle Eastern Studies, go to https://webapps.uc.edu/DegreePrograms/Program.aspx?ProgramQuickFactsID=1399&ProgramOutlineID=347.

Required Texts: All texts are available at the university bookstore.

  • Whitney Azoy, Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan, third edition (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2012).
  • Thomas Barfield, Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
  • Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia, (New York, Kodansha America, LLC, 1994).
  • Carter Malkasian, War Comes to Garmser: Thirty Years of Conflict on the Afghan Frontier, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • Svat Soucek, A History of Inner Asia, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
  • Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013).

Additional readings will be made available electronically through this syllabus.

Course Requirements:

1) Attendance: Regular attendance and active participation is MANDATORY. In order to obtain the full participation percentage of your grade, I will expect you to…

  • Regularly attend class: Remember, attendance means showing up, staying awake, and actively participating in discussions. Sleeping in the back of the room does not count as attending class. I will allow for one unexcused absence, others will be reflected in your grade. If you need an excused absence because you must miss class for a legitimate reason, talk to me before the day you need to be excused.
  • Active participation in class discussions: Ask questions, engage the material. Active participation does not mean talking in class all the time, but it does mean listening carefully to others and showing through verbal and non-verbal communication that you are mentally present in class (not just a body filling a chair).

2) Quizzes: There will be three short quizzes in this course. These quizzes are designed to make sure everyone is keeping up with the reading and has developed the necessary background knowledge to participate in class. The first quiz will be a map quiz. The second and third quizzes will focus on the assigned readings.

3) Discussion Board: Throughout the semester, you will be asked to post to a discussion forum on Blackboard, read the posts of your colleagues, and respond to your colleagues. You will be asked to post ten (10) 500 word responses to the readings over the course of the term. These will demonstrate that you have completed and thought about the assigned readings for that week and should cite the readings. You will also be asked to respond to ten (10) posts written by your colleagues. These should be done during the week in which the original post was submitted. Responses must address the substance of the initial post and should cite the readings. Each of these posts and responses will have a due date. You may submit your posts and/or responses before the due dates, but late submissions will not be accepted.

4) Book Review: For this assignment, you will be asked to find a scholarly book on the history of Afghanistan and/or Central Asia, read it, and write a 3-5 page review of the book. I would recommend you choose a book which will be useful in preparing your final paper. Details will be made available two weeks before the assignment is due.

5) Final Paper: For this assignment, you will be asked to write a 10-15 page paper covering a topic related to the history of Afghanistan and Central Asia of your choosing. Details will be discussed in class over the course of the term.

All written assignments will be submitted via Blackboard.

Grade Breakdown:

  • Attendance and Participation – 20%
  • Discussion Board Posts (x10 @ 1.5% each) – 15%
  • Discussion Board Responses (x10 @ 1% each) – 10%
  • Quiz 1 – 5%
  • Quiz 2 – 5%
  • Book Review – 15%
  • Quiz 3 – 5%
  • Final Paper – 25%

Grade Scale:

A = 100-93%; A- = 93-90%; B+ = 90-87%; B = 87-83%; B- = 83-80%; C+ = 80-77%; C = 77-73%; C- = 73-70%; D+ = 70-67%; D = 67-63%; D- = 63-60%; F = 60-0%

Technology Requirements:

In order to succeed in this class, you must have regular access to Blackboard for readings and submitting assignments. You must also be able to regularly check your University of Cincinnati e-mail for announcements and communications related to the course.

All UC students have a free Microsoft SkyDrive account which allows you to store up to 25GB of files securely on-line. You may access your SkyDrive account at http://skydrive.live.com (use your UC e-mail address and central login password to access your account). Every quarter I have students who can’t submit papers on time because they lost their flash drive, their computer broke, or they saved it on a friend’s computer and can’t access it. If you save your work to SkyDrive, you will be able to access it at any time on any computer with an internet connection, eliminating problems of lost, broken, or inaccessible technology. Therefore, I highly recommend you upload your papers to SkyDrive (for all your classes, not just this one).


Please be aware of the University’s academic misconduct and plagiarism policy and the Student Code of Conduct (www.uc.edu/studentlife/conduct). Plagiarism includes presenting text or ideas written by, or quotations found by, another as your own work. The Department of History rule is that a student who is discovered plagiarizing on any assignment will automatically receive a grade of zero for that assignment and the assignment cannot be redone and will have their case referred to the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies for further action. A second incidence of plagiarism will result in automatic failure of the course and a further report to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Every term I am forced to fail students who engage in academic dishonesty and cheat. If you are about to turn in a plagiarized paper, stop and contact me instead. We can always work something out so you receive some credit for a late paper instead of none for a plagiarized paper.

 SCHEDULE (subject to change):

Week 1 – Introduction

Mon. Aug. 25 – Introduction

Wed. Aug. 27 – Setting the Stage: Physical and Political Geography (powerpoint)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 1-29; Barfield, pp. 42-54.

Fri. Aug. 29 – Introducing the Players: Human Geography

Readings: Soucek, pp. 29-45; Barfield, pp. 17-42; Barth, Introduction to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries.

Week 2 – Of Cheese and Civilization

Mon. Sept. 1 – LABOR DAY – NO CLASS

Wed. Sept. 3 – City States and Oases: Urbanism before Islam (power point)

Readings: Starr, pp. 1-61.

Fri. Sept. 5 – Social-Political Organization: American Cheese vs. Swiss Cheese

Readings: Barfield, pp. 54-90; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqqadimah.

Week 3 – The Rise of Islam

Mon. Sept. 8 – Central Asia before Islam (power point)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 46-56; Starr, pp. 62-100.

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 1 Due

Wed. Sept. 10 – The Arab Conquests (power point)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 56-69; Starr, pp. 101-125; Baladhuri, “The Arab Conquests of Central Asia;” Tabari, “Another Look at the Arab Conquests.”

Fri. Sept. 12 – How Central Asians Shaped the Islamic World (power point)

Readings: Starr, pp. 126-193.

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 1 Due

Week 4 – The Samanid Golden Age

Mon. Sept. 15 – Early Islamic Khurasan

Readings: Soucek, pp. 70-76; Starr, pp. 194-224.

Wed. Sept. 17 – The Samanids: A Central Asian, Muslim Elite (power point)

Readings: Starr, pp. 225-266; Narshakhi, “The Rise of the House of Saman.”

Fri. Sept. 19 – Khwarzm

Readings: Starr, pp. 267-302.

MAP QUIZ (study guide)

Week 5 – The Turks and Islam

Mon. Sept. 22 – The Conversion of the Turks

Readings: Soucek, pp. 77-92; Starr, pp. 303-332; Jamal Qarshi, “The Conversion to Islam of Satuq Bughra Khan;” Yusuf Hass Hajib, “Advice to the Qarakhanid Rulers.”

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 2 Due

Wed. Sept. 24 – The Foundations of Turko-Persian Civilization

Readings: Starr, pp. 332-380; Ferdowsi, ShahnamaShahnama Project.

Fri. Sept. 26 – From Caliphate to Sultanate: The Seljuks

Readings: Soucek, pp. 93-101; Starr, pp. 381-435.

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 2 Due

Week 6 – The Mongol Empires

Mon. Sept. 29 – Chingiz Khan and the Mongol Conquests (power point)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 102-116; Starr, pp. 436-477.

Wed. Oct. 1 – Creating a Mongol State

Readings: Soucek, pp. 117-122; Golden, “I Will Give the People unto Thee;” Lindner, “What Was a Nomadic Tribe?”

Fri. Oct. 3 – The Timurids (power point)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 123-143; Starr, pp. 478-514.

Week 7 – Central Asia After the Mongols

Mon. Oct. 6 – The Uzbeks, Shaybanids, and the Gunpowder Empires.

Readings: Soucek, pp. 144-161; Stewart Gordon, When Asia Was the World, Chap. 8.

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 3 Due

Wed. Oct. 8 – The Rise of the Emirates: Bukhara, Khiva, and Khoqand

Readings: Soucek, pp. 177-193; begin reading Hopkirk.

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 3 Due

Fri. Oct. 10 – NO CLASS – FALL BREAK

Week 8 – The Changing Shape of Central Asia

Mon. Oct. 13 – The Rise of the Pashtuns

Readings: Barfield, pp. 90-109.

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 4 Due

Wed. Oct. 15 – The Rise of Russia (power point)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 162-175.

Fri. Oct. 17 – Enter the British Raj

Readings: You should be at least half way through Hopkirk.

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 4 Due


Week 9 – The Great Game

Mon. Oct. 20 – The First Anglo-Afghan War (power point)

Readings: Barfield, pp. 110-134.

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 5 Due

Wed. Oct. 22 – The Second Anglo-Afghan War (power point)

Readings: Barfield, pp. 134-163; Treaty of Gandamak; Firman of Abdur Rahman; high resolution, untranslated scan of the Firman of Abdur Rahman.

Fri. Oct. 24 –Russian Expansion

Readings: Soucek, pp. 195-208; finish Hopkirk.

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 5 Due

Week 10 – The Reshaping of Afghanistan

Mon. Oct. 27 – Reform, Revolt, Repeat (power point)

Readings: Barfield, pp. 164-195.

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 6 Due

Wed. Oct. 29 – The Great and Powerful Musahiban (power point)

Readings: Barfield, pp. 195-225.

Fri. Oct. 31 – Village Politics in Afghanistan

Readings: Azoy, 1-70

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 6 Due

Week 11 – The Soviet Union and Central Asia

Mon. Nov. 3 – Kabul versus the Village

Readings: Azoy, pp. 71-180.

Wed. Nov. 5 – The Russian Revolution and Central Asia (power point)

Readings: Soucek, pp. 209-224.

Fri. Nov. 7 – Soviet Central Asia

Readings: Soucek, pp. 225-253.

Assignments: BOOK REVIEW DUE

Week 12 – Afghanistan Collapses

Mon. Nov. 10 – The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (power point)

Readings: Barfield, pp. 225-249; Declaration of the CC CPSU to the Party Leadership Concerning the Situation in Afghanistan; Reagan, “Statement of the Situation in Afghanistan (Dec. 27, 1981);” Reagan, “Proclamation 4908-Afghanistan Day;” Reagan, “Statement on the 9th Anniversary of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.”

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 7 Due

Wed. Nov. 12 – The Mujahideen Civil War (power point)

Readings: Barfield, pp. 249-254; Malkasian, pp. 1-51.

Fri. Nov. 14 – Enter the Taliban

Readings: Barfield, pp. 255-270; Malkasian, pp. 53-70.

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 7 Due


Week 13 – The Taliban

Mon. Nov. 17 – The Taliban, Islam, and Women in Central Asia

Readings: Rashid, Taliban, select chapters; “A sample of Taliban decrees relating to women and other cultural issues, after the capture of Kabul, 1996;” Riphenburg, “Post-Taliban Afghanistan: Changed Outlook for Women?”

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 8 Due

Wed. Nov. 19 – Pipe Dreams: Opium and Oil

Readings: Tarock, “The Politics of the Pipeline;” Schweich, “Is Afghanistan a Narco State?”

Fri. Nov. 21 – al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the War on Terror

Readings: Malkasian, pp. 71-126; Burke, “al-Qaeda.”

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 8 Due

Week 14 – Afghan Star

Mon. Nov. 24 – Movie – Afghan Star

Readings: Malakasian, pp. 127-195.

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 9 Due

Wed. Nov. 26 – MOVIE DAY – TBA

Readings: Finish Malakasian

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 9 Due


Week 15 – Central Asia in the 21st Century

Mon. Dec. 1 – Post Soviet Central Asia

Readings: Soucek, pp. 254-262, 275-295; Ziegler, “Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperative, and American Foreign Policy.”

Assignments: Discussion Board Post 10 Due

Wed. Dec. 3 – Central Asia and the Global War on Terrorism

Readings: Barfield, pp. 272-329.

Fri. Dec. 5 – The Future of Central Asia

Readings: Soucek, pp. 303-315; Barfield, pp. 330-350; Larson and Lough, “Afghan Perspectives on Democracy.”

Assignments: Discussion Board Response 10 Due