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Americans Discover Central Asia: Russian Studies, Sovietology, and Orientalism

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posted on 16.01.2019 by Arslan Jumaniyazov
This dissertation investigates the beginning and evolution of Central Asian Studies in the United States. I look at travel accounts, diplomatic missions, popular representations, and scholarly studies of Central Asia primarily for the period between 1860s and 1960s. My main argument is that American understanding and representation of Central Asian
politics, history, and culture have almost always been tied to American relations to Russia. How Americans interpreted Central Asia was contingent upon the current American attitudes towards Russia. American attitudes toward the Orient also influenced how Central Asia was viewed and understood in the United States. In addition, I argue that while American understanding of Central Asia generally depended on the political climate and intellectual trends existing at a given time, independent research and
scholarship on Central Asian Studies existed since the early Cold War era. As an example, I discuss the development of Central Asian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington.

History

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

American Studies

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Raymond Fouche

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

David Atkinson

Additional Committee Member 2

Bill Mullen

Additional Committee Member 3

Harry Targ

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