Indiana University Bloomington
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Introduction to Inner Asia
Catalog Number CEUS-U 190
Christopher Beckwith

This course introduces the history and arts of the traditional Central Eurasian (‘Inner Asian’) peoples through lectures and films. Historical topics include: the Chariot warriors; the Scythians and Hsiung-nu; the Proto-Mongols, the Goths, and Attila the Hun; The Turkic and Tibetan Empires; the Silk Road; Chinggis (‘Genghis’) Khan and the Mongol Empire; the Persian Empire; Tamerlane; Babur and the Mughal Empire; the Manchu Empire and the Dalai Lama; Manchu-Chinese and Russian partition of Central Eurasia and closing of the Silk Road; reemergence of Central Eurasia in the late 20th century; and others. Arts topics include oral and written literature, painting, and architecture. The course will include extensive use of films, including Attila, The Conqueror, Lost Horizon, Seven Years in Tibet, and Urga. No prior knowledge of Central Eurasia (Inner Asia) is assumed or required.


Test I (45%)
Test II (45%)
Internet Project (10%)
Required Textbook: C.I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road (forthcoming from Princeton University Press; if not yet published by the start of classes it will be available from the instructor)