Spring 2024 - IS 822 G100

Central Asia: Conflict and Security (4)

Class Number: 5190

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 8:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Instructor:

    Nicole Jackson
    1 778 782-8424



Examines the new states of post-Soviet Central Asia, with particular reference to the relationship among democratization, development, autocracy and conflict, and the role of external actors in transnational security issues in the region. Students with credit for IS 808 under the title "Central Asia: Conflict and Security" may not take this course for further credit. Students with credit for IS 322 may not take this course for further credit.


This course is designed to develop student expertise on Post-Soviet Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan) though an inter-disciplinary study of its politics and international relations. The core themes which will be explored include: i) the relationships among democratization, security and conflict; ii) the security implications of the resilience and fragility of autocracies and semi-autocracies; iii) the role of external actors in transnational security issues. The course introduces key academic works in the study of Central Asia and also draws upon policy literature.


Skills taught and assessed: These include the ability to critically analyse modern politics and security studies in Central Asia; to analyse and evaluate theories, concepts and themes of post-Soviet Central Asian politics. Theoretical arguments will be critiqued and applied to empirical case studies; academic texts analysed; primary sources evaluated and deployed; reasoned arguments constructed. Students will also learn to communicate effectively in oral and written form, to develop policy proposal based on empirical and theoretical works, and to work independently and with colleagues to achieve set tasks.


  • Participation 15%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Research Essay 40%
  • Scenario 15%
  • Group Position Statemen 15%


This is a seminar course, but there may be introductory lectures followed by seminar work, presentations and debates. There will also be group work requiring students to create policy proposals towards key political and security issues.  The specific organization of the course will be decided upon in September based on the number of students. Students will be expected to give written and oral analyses of the readings each week. There will be a role-playing scenario at the end of term.



This course will have a heavy reading load. Readings will mostly include journal articles which can be accessed online through the library or will be posted on SFU Canvas

Illustrative (not required for purchase) Readings

 Adeeb Khalid, Islam after communism: Religion and politics in Central Asia (University of California Press, 2014).

Marlene Laruelle and Sebastien Peyrouse, Globalizing Central Asia, M E Sharpe, 2013 (paperback)

Kent E Calder, Supercontinent; The Logic of Eurasian Integration, Stanford University Press, 2019

Jeff Sahadeo & Russell Zanca (eds.): Everyday Life in Central Asia: Past and Present (Indiana University Press, 2007).

Daneil L Burghart, Ed, Central Asia in the Era of Sovereignty: The Return of Tamerlane? Rowman and Littlefield Publishing, London, 2018.

Kathleen Collins, Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Mariya Y. Omelicheva, Democracy in Central Asia: Competing perspectives and alternative strategies (University Press of Kentucky, 2016).

Sally N. Cummings: Understanding Central Asia: Politics and Contested Transformations (Routledge, 2012).

Thomas Stephan Eder, China-Russia relations in Central Asia: Energy policy, Beijing’s new assertiveness and 21st Century geopolitics (Springer, 2013).


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html