Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Syllabus for Political Violence and Terrorism in Central Asia

Political Violence and Terrorism in Central Asia
ICP 349
3 Credits
International and Comparative Politics
American University of Central Asia
Fall Semester 2009
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.

Course Description:

This course focuses on political violence both by the state and by non-state actors in Central Asia during the Soviet era. The class will emphasize the political goals and changes sought by these actors through the use of violence. Specific episodes of political violence covered include the “Basmachi” revolt and its suppression, violence against women in response to the Hujum, collectivization, national deportations, GULag camp uprisings, ethnic conflict in the Fergana Valley and Islamic terrorism. By examining these events the course will seek to evaluate the success of violence by the Soviet state and others in achieving their political goals. Did violence achieve these goals or not? Could these goals have been satisfied without the use of violence? In which of these cases if any was the use of violence ethically justifiable?


The course will consist of assigned readings, lectures, discussion, short writing assignments, an oral report and a research paper. Students will be required to write three 600 to 800 word reflection papers. They will also have to write a 2500 to 3000 word essay on one specific case of political violence in Central Asia. The paper is due the last week of class. In the four weeks prior to this deadline each student will be required to give a short oral presentation on the subject of their paper followed by a short question and answer session. Late papers will lose ten percent each day they are late. Students must come to class on time. Being more than fifteen minutes late will count as an absence. Students will lose one letter grade after four unexcused absences and fail the course after seven. Written proof of an emergency from a doctor or other appropriate authority is required for an absence to be excused. No mobile phones are to be visible during class. They are to be out of sight and turned off. I will eject any student from class that has a visible cell phone or whose cell phone rings during class. This will count as an unexcused absence. Finally, I have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.

Readings: All the required readings are contained in the course packet.

Policy on Plagiarism and Citations:

I have a zero tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. If I catch any student plagiarizing once I will fail them for the assignment. If I catch them a second time I will fail them from the class. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying from a source without using quotation marks or setting the text up as an indented single spaced block quotation. If I find that more than five words in a row in your paper show up in the same order in a Google search and you do not have the words in quotation marks or set up as a block quotation I will fail you. Putting a footnote, end note or other citation after the copied words without the quotation marks or block quotation form is still plagiarism, you are claiming to have paraphrased verbatim text, and you will still receive an F. Taking text from a source without citing it and rearranging the words so that it does not show up in a verbatim Google search is also plagiarism. I will also do Google searches to see if you have taken text and merely rearranged the words. You must either paraphrase the sentence by putting it completely in your own words and citing it with the proper footnote, end note or in text citation or quote the actual text verbatim complete with the proper citation. Completely paraphrasing sentences in your own words, but neglecting to cite the source of the information is also plagiarism. All information that would not be known to the average person on the street with no university education must be cited. When in doubt always cite a legitimate source. Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. Books published by university presses and academic journal articles found on JSTOR are legitimate sources. Other sources may or may not be legitimate. If you have questions about whether a particular source is legitimate you can ask me. Using Wikipedia or other illegitimate sources will result in a reduction of one letter grade for each citation in a paper.


Three Short Papers – 45% (15% each)

Written research paper – 30% (Due last week of class)

Oral report on research – 15%

Class participation – 10%

Grading Scale:

100-96 = A
95-91 = A-
90-86 = B+
85-81 = B
80-76 = B-
75-71 = C+
70-66 = C
65-61 = C-
60-56 = D+
55-51 = D
50-46 = D-
45 and lower = F

Class Schedule:

Week one: Introduction to the course and review of the syllabus.

Weeks Two and Three: The “Basmachi” Revolt and its Suppression

Olcott, Martha B., “The Basmachi or Freemen’s Revolt in Turkestan 1918-24,” Soviet Studies, vol. XXXIII, no. 3, July 1981, pp. 352-369.

Ritter, William, S., “The Final Phase in the Liquidation of Anti-Soviet Resistance in Tadzhikistan: Ibrahim Bek and the Basmachi, 1924-31,” Soviet Studies, vol. XXXVII, no. 4, October 1985, pp. 484-493.

Marshall, Alexander, “Turkfront: Frunze and development of Soviet counter-insurgency in Central Asia,” in Tom Everett-Heath, ed., Central Asia: Aspects of Transition (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), pp. 5-29. The first short paper is due at the end of week three.

Week Four: The Hujum and Violence against Women in Uzbekistan

Kamp, Marianne, “The Counter-Hujum: Terror and Veiling,” chapter eight in The New Woman in Uzbekistan: Islam, Modernity, and Unveiling under Communism (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2006), pp. 186-214.

Weeks Five and Six: Collectivization, Dekulakization and Famine in Kazakhstan

Olcott, Martha Brill, “The Collectivization Drive in Kazakhstan,” Russian Review, Vol. 40, No. 2, April 1981, pp. 122-142.

Ertz, Simon, “The Kazakh Catastrophe and Stalin’s Order of Priorities, 1929-1933: Evidence from the Soviet Secret Archives,” Zhe: Stanford’s Student Journal of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Vol. 1, Spring 2005, pp. 1-14.

Shayakhmetov, Mukhamet, trans. Butler, Jan, “Deportation,” chapter fourteen in The Silent Steppe: The Memoir of a Kazakh Nomad under Stalin (New York: Overlook/Rookery, 2006), pp. 121-132. The second short paper is due at the end of week six.

Weeks Seven and Eight: Deported Peoples

Comins-Richmond, Walter, “The deportation of the Karachays,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 4, no. 3, 2002, pp. 431-439.

Williams, Brian Glyn, “The Hidden Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims in the Soviet Union: The Exile and Repatriation of the Crimean Tatars,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 37, No. 3, July 2002, pp. 323-347.

Pohl, J. Otto, “A Caste of Helot Labourers: Special Settlers and the Cultivation of Cotton in Soviet Central Asia: 1944-1956,” in Deniz Kandiyoti, ed., The Cotton Sector in Central Asia: Economic Policy and Development Challenges (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 2007), pp. 12-28.

Weeks Nine and Ten: The Kengir Camp Uprising

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I., trans. Willetts, Harry, “The Forty Days of Kengir,” chapter twelve in The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956 (New York: HarperPerrenial, 1992), vol. III, pp. 285-331.

Barnes, Steven A., “’In a Manner Befitting Soviet Citizens’: An Uprising in the Post-Stalin Gulag,” Slavic Review, Vol. 64, No. 4, Winter 2005, pp. 823-850. The third short paper is due at the end of week ten.

Week Eleven: Ethnic Violence at the end of the USSR

Mirkhanova, Malika, “People in Exile: The Oral History of Meskhetian Turks (Akhyskha Turkleri),” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 1, April 2006, pp. 33-44.

Tishkov, Valery, “’Don’t Kill Me, I’m a Kyrgyz!’: An Anthropological Analysis of Violence in the Osh Ethnic Conflict,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 32, No. 2, May 1995, pp. 133-149.

Week Twelve: Post-Soviet Political Violence and Terrorism

Horsman, Stuart, “Themes in official discourses on terrorism in Central Asia,” Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2005, pp. 199-213.

Weeks Thirteen through Sixteen: Student Presentations. The final paper is due at the end of week sixteen.

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