21 January 2010

New courses on "China's Minorities" and "Central Asia"

Ildiko Beller-Hann will be teaching two new courses at the Dept. for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies this semester - one on 'China's Minorities' and one on 'Central Asia'.

China's Minorities

China is often perceived by the outside world as a by and large ethnically homogenous entity with the Tibetans as its most significant internal other. While demographically the Han Chinese indeed dominate, China's border regions are inhabited by diverse non-Han populations and occupy large areas of the People's Republic. The Chinese state today recognizes fifty-five groups as minority nationalities. Some of these are concentrated in large border regions and form the titular majority of their respective autonomous regions or prefectures. Recognition of minority groups may assume many different forms and is motivated by very different considerations. The course provides an introduction into the fluctuations of central policies towards these internal others from imperial times to the present day, as well as local responses to these policies. With a particular focus on the Chinese Muslims, the Turkic speaking Muslims of Xinjiang, the Mongols and the minorities of the southwest, the course will offer insight into how ostensibly homogenous minority policies may be implemented very differently in different regions.

The course will be complemented with a series of sessions (7xhours) for students in China-studies with reading of relevant texts in Chinese. The main purpose is to become familiar with key terminology. This is not part of the examination requirements for all of students in this course, only those wanting to take Realia B and Realia C.

Ildiko Beller-Hann will teach in English
Jørgen Delman will teach in Danish or English as necessary.

Literature: A master copy with all the texts will be made available on a semester shelf in the library.

Perspectives on Central Asia: regions, networks and identities on the periphery of the great powers

Comparative Cultural Studies

In recent decades Central Asia has experienced a renaissance both in international politics and in academic discourse. Interest in the region is due to a number of factors, such as its geo-political position on the frontiers of great powers, its rich energy resources and the dominance of Islam. Historically speaking, this region was part of the legendary Silk Road, thus connecting East Asia with Europe, was scene of the emergence and demise of many great nomadic empires, and it was also here where the famous power struggle of the colonial empires known as the Great Game unfolded in the 19th century. The course offers an introduction to this vast region which, in addition to the independent Republics which emerged in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union, culturally also includes neighbouring territories, such as the vast area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The course offers a general overview of the complex history of the region from the earliest times to the present day, focusing on both continuities and change which accompanied the social transformations caused by political upheavals. Through focusing on selected themes, students will be introduced to current academic discourses on diverse topics such as social structure, ethnicity, culture and religion.

The course readings will be published and sold by Studenternes Kompendiesalg at KUA, Njalsgade 80.

For course webpage, see Absalon.