Academic year 2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title HISTORY OF ASIA
Course code LT9013 (AF:312630 AR:177792)
Modality On campus classes
ECTS credits 6
Degree level Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code SPS/14
Period 2nd Term
Course year 2
Moodle Go to Moodle page
Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
The course is integral part of the training activities of the Bachelor's degree programme in "Philosophy, International and Economic Studies", aimed at providing students with multidisciplinary and flexible tools useful for interpreting the social, political and economic phenomena of the contemporary world.
Specifically, the course aims to offer a comprehensive picture of the dynamics characterizing the geopolitical and geoeconomic landscape of the Caspian Sea area, i.e. the area encompassing the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia regions. Analyzing the dynamics of the post-Soviet transition and transformation processes unfolding in the Caspian area, the course pursues two essential and linked objectives: on the one hand, to provide useful tools for understanding the relevance of the Caspian area in the framework of the systemic post-bipolar transition and, on the other, to provide the student with a privileged perspective for the evaluation of the foreign and regional policies of the main actors active in the Eurasian space - from the United States to the European Union, from Russia to China, from Turkey to Iran.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to acquire the critical tools necessary for understanding and evaluating the dynamics of Central Asian and Southern Caucasus' geopolitics and geoeconomics, in the broader context of the Caspian area post-Soviet evolution the and of the post-bypolar transition in the Eurasian chessboard.
At a wider look, starting from the post-soviet regional transition and transformation processes, the course aims to provide students with the critical tools indispensable for interpreting the international relations' contemporary dynamics. Particular relevance will be given to the phenomenon of regionalization of the international system and to the resulting change of scale in international relations, which are essential in order to appraise the systemic weight of the sub-Caucasian and central Asian chessboards.
Based on the analysis of the energy development strategies unfolding in the Caspian area, the course will provide the student with the essential theoretical features of the Energy Politics. The appraisal of the aims and means guiding the hydrocarbons producing countries' choices made in the extraction and transportation sectors, together with the analysis of the dynamics presiding over regional inter-state cooperation, will provide the student with the basic parameters for the evaluation of the energy security strategies of the main importers of Eurasian space – from the European Union to the West to China to the East. Moreover, becoming acquainted with the drivers of the regional competition for influence read through the paradigm of the "New Great Game", the student is expected to acquire the essential tools for understanding the logic of alliances in the international system and for the appraisal of the different levels of power competition – that is strategic, economic and normative.
Through interactive lessons – based upon the commentary of newspaper articles and/or analytical essays pertaining to the topics of teaching – the course aims at stimulating students' critical thinking, judgment capabilities and communication skills.
Basic knowledge of contemporary history of non-European countries.
The course is divided into four modules:
1) Introduction to the geopolitics and geoeconomics of the Caspian area.
The module is aimed at assessing the impact of geo-physical and human factors on the risk/opportunity perceptions of the national political and economic decision-makers and, consequently, on the Caucasus and Central Asian states foreign policy strategies.
2) Post-soviet nation- and state-building processes.
The module is introduced by the appraisal of the Soviet legacy in social, identity, political-institutional and economic terms. It will focus on the parameters shaping the nation- and state-building processes of the post-soviet Republics of the Caspian area as well as on the influence exerted by the latter on the inter-state and multilateral cooperation. In particular, the main concepts of regionalism and regionalization will be introduced and, building upon the latter, the peculiarities and limits of the aforementioned processes in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia will be evaluated.
3) Energy and the “New Great Game”.
Based upon the reference to the 19th-century Russian-British "Great Game" played in the Central Asian chessboard, the module presents the specificities of the regional competition for power and influence as it has been unfolding during the Nineties. Particular attention will be given, in this context, to the competition for access, exploitation and transportation of the Caspian Sea area hydrocarbons and to the strategic choices that have presided over the formulation of a regional policy by the main extra-regional actors – i.e. the United States, Turkey, Russia and Iran.
4) The growing regional influence of China.
Starting from the appraisal of the changes that, since the beginning of the 21st century modified the Eurasian geography of the hydrocarbons consumption and demand, the module will focus on the aims and tools that presided over the launching of the People's Republic of China's Caspian strategy and, consequently, on the evaluation of the Sino-Russian regional power relations and on the growing normative competition between the latter and the Euro-Atlantic powers.
Referral texts
Teaching material and additional readings will be made available during the course on the Moodle platform.
Assessment methods
The verification of learning takes place in two complementary ways.
During the course, consistently with a continuous evaluation method based on participation in the discussion sessions, the student is called to take an active part in the analysis of the materials made available by the teacher, demonstrating its skills in critical processing of the informations and in communication.
At the end of the course the student will hold a final written exam, aimed at ascertaining the mastery of the topics included in the exam program. The final exam will consist of a set of open-ended questions (3 questions, max. 10 points each).
Teaching methods
Frontal and interactive lessons.
Teaching language
Type of exam
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme