Teaching Central Eurasia in Undergraduate Survey Courses: Problems and Strategies

Abstract

Recent scholarship has challenged narratives of Central Eurasia’s relationships with its neighbors in East Asia, South Asia, and Southwest Asia.  This scholarship explains the trade networks that are commonly called the “Silk Routes” as the foreign trade component of a complex and dynamic Central Eurasian economy.  Scholarship of Central Eurasia also challenges long-standing narratives of “needy” or “predatory” nomads that militarily overwhelm sedentary empires. This article discusses the importance of incorporating such ideas into world history and Asian history survey courses, which are often taught by non-specialists who have only encountered Central Eurasia in their respective fields as a periphery.  Correcting misconceptions about Central Eurasia’s relationship with its neighbors also provides opportunities for students to think critically about historical sources and move past stereotypes of “barbarian” and “civilization.”

Keywords

definitions, misconceptions, assignments, transnational themes, history

How to Cite

Kardos, A., 2014. Teaching Central Eurasia in Undergraduate Survey Courses: Problems and Strategies. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 21(2), pp.54–62. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.83
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Amy Kardos (University of Texas at San Antonio)

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