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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)
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Politics of Identity in China and Inner Asia
CEUS-R 395/595
Gardner Bovingdon

Many people take terms like "Chinese," "Taiwanese," or "Kazakh" to represent straightforward concepts. This course will challenge that assumption. Battles over states and borders have powerfully affected the formation of identities in China and Inner Asia. As rulers and alliances changed, some identities emerged, some merged, and some disappeared. Through a study of theories of identity and modern state formation, combined with careful attention to the history of China and Inner Asia over the last century or so, we will examine the politics of identity in this vast region. We will explore – and explode – such easy associations as identity and descent, language and ethnicity, citizenship and nationality. We will also consider the intersections of nationality, ethnicity, gender, and class in various states in the modern era.

Course requirements: Students will write a take-home midterm examination and a final research paper (15 to 20 pages for graduate students, 10 pages for undergraduates). Each student will also be asked to make a presentation and lead discussion on several readings during the term. The final grade will combine the research paper (40%), midterm (30%), and class participation (30%). Late papers will not be accepted. This is for your benefit. Presentations are not summaries, but 5-10 minute responses to the readings which include questions intended to spark discussion. The final research paper will study a particular theme, approved by the instructor, in greater depth. The paper will constitute original work, and will have a full apparatus of footnotes and bibliography. Avoid plagiarism at all costs; if in doubt, ask.

Required texts:

Dittmer, Lowell and Samuel S. Kim, eds., China’s Quest for National Identity. Ithaca: Cornell, 1993.
Lipman, Jonathan. Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997.
Smith, Graham et al. 1998. Nation-building in the Post-soviet Borderlands: the Politics of National Identities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zhao, Suisheng. 2004. A Nation-state by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Other course readings on Oncourse (first three weeks) or ERES
Note: ERES texts marked with an * below. Password: taklamaka