For our first class, I asked my students to describe the space where they slept, in as much detail as possible. I, like the American student ambassadors to the Kazakhstan World Expo, had only arrived in Astana a week before. While I had been given a flat in the “new center” of Astana, on the Left Bank, they were dispersed in different buildings in the Expo Village. Their housing, like so much of the Expo, had been finished just days before their arrival. They described their rooms as sparse, unfinished, and lacking furniture. Continue reading Pedagogy Under Construction: Lessons on Teaching as Fieldwork at Kazakhstan’s Expo, by Meghanne Barker (University of Chicago)
It’s a difficult time for Central Eurasian studies, especially from the perspective of funding for research in the field. Blows to the material support for the field are coming from many sides. The United States government has been cutting programs that support U.S. citizens wanting to do research and language training. Continue reading Threats to the funding of research on Central Eurasia
One of my aims here on Bactriana is to fuel a dialogue not only about Central Asian historical scholarship, but teaching as well. I reached out to Scott Levi at the Ohio State University for an initial foray into this topic because his research has endeavored to place Central Asia within the broader dialogue of world history. Infusing intimidating proper nouns like “Qarakitai” and “Maturidi” with thematic historical significance in an introductory survey course is no simple task, but one for which Levi is especially well-suited.
Continue reading Two Millennia in Four Months: Scott Levi on Taming the Central Asian History Survey Course