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CSPO 1285A - Geopolitics of Central Asia

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Geopolitics of Central Asia” offers an elaboration on any previous knowledge which students may have in “international relations”, history of “world politics”, and in “general geopolitics”. The course focuses on a region, today's central Asia, often known as the “Heartland” (MacKinder), and since 2001, its cooperation with China and Russia. This sino-postsoviet “New Asia” comprises not only the five classic countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kirghizstan) but also Afghanistan as the new “pivot” of the 21st century. The course aims to make sense of the new Sino-Russian “entente” of sorts brought together by the “Shanghai spirit” since 1996; as well as by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation since 2001, with 6 members and now 8 after India's and Pakistan's accession in 2015-2016. The course aims to enable students who have an interest for the region to develop a capacity to understand the region, notably the multi-faceted stakes at play there. Basic questions are addressed : the relevance of continental Asia for today's new “great game”, the dynamic and control of energy-exporting routes from the Caspian Sea area, that is from the “new” East to the “continuing” West, etc. Students are encouraged to contribute to on-going research and publications, through their take-home essay on a topic chosen from a list provided by the teacher (in 2016, a student from the course co-authored with the teacher a published contribution to the 5th Europe-Asia conference, held in Mongolia).


CHABAL, Pierre M. (PhD. Maître de conférences)

Pedagogical format

At the end of the course, the student is expected to: 1°) have improved her/his understanding of central Asia from a comparative perspective. 2°) grasp the new stakes and meanings of the China-Russia rivalry. 3°) to be familiar with the meaning of the “enlargement” and “deepening” of the New Asia.

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass the following assignments: 1°) taking part in class discussions with preparations before each class. 2°) writing a research piece or take-home essay under guidance. 3°) taking a final exam, in the form of a “dissertation” during the last class.

Required reading

Chabal, Pierre (2011), Institutionalising Regions : East-Asian and European perspectives on regional regime dynamics, Paris Apopsix, 391 p (available in the Europe-Asia campus library)

Additional required reading

  • Chabal, Pierre (2016), L'Organisation de Coopération de Shanghai et la construction de "la nouvelle Asie", Brussels: Peter Lang, 492 p. (available in the Europe-Asia campus library)
  • Chabal, Pierre (2015), Concurrences Interrégionales Europe-Asie au 21ème siècle, Brussels: Peter Lang, 388 p. (available in the Europe-Asia campus library
  • Kalra, Prajakti and Saxena, Siddharth "Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Prospects of Development in Eurasia Region" Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol 6. No.2, 2007
  • Sznajder, Ariel Pablo, "China's Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Strategy", University of California Press, May 2006