Caucasus Studies I

Summary

The course gives the student a broad knowledge of the Caucasus – a politically turbulent region with high ethnic diversity in a vulnerable geopolitical location. It offers an introduction to the Caucasus region, its ethnic groups and languages, history and recent political developments.

Admission requirements

General entry requirements + English B.


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Selection:

credits 20% final grades 40% national university aptitude test 40%

About

What is Caucasus Studies?

Caucasus Studies at Malmö University is an ‘area study’. It is based on the assumption that the history of the Caucasus matters for the understanding of contemporary political, social and economic developments and that the region’s unique geographical location is crucial for understanding the conflict dynamics in the region. 

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The Caucasus region is located at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Historically the region has been dominated by different empires, including the Ottoman Empire, Persia, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War the Caucasus region has obtained a new strategic significance. Regional great powers – Turkey, Iran, Russia – again compete for political influence in the region, which is also rich in energy resources and constitutes an important transit corridor for oil and gas from the Caspian basin to Western markets. New external actors, notably USA and the EU, compete with the ‘traditional’ regional powers for political influence in the Caucasus region and for control over its strategically important energy resources and pipeline routes.

The Caucasus is one of the most complex regions of the world in terms of ethnic and linguistic diversity. Contested borders divide similar ethnic groups and nationalities.  Feelings of national 'we' are weak, while sub-national identities (clan, ethnic groups, region) are strong. The Caucasus is also a meeting place for different Islamic, Christian and pre-Christian religious traditions. Our courses provide students with an understanding of the role of ethnicity, language and religion in the post-Soviet state- and nation-building processes.

What makes Caucasus Studies unique?

Caucasus Studies at Malmö University is the only center in Western Europe providing distance learning courses on this topic. The flexible online design makes it easy for students to follow the courses in their home country and even to combine them with orther studies or work.

The multidisciplinary staff consists of researchers with solid knowledge of the particularities of the Caucasus region, combined with extensive experience from doing  field work in the region.

Caucasus Studies at Malmö Universiy has tight links with academic institutions and scholars in the Caucasus Region, as well as other international institutions with Caucasus research. The center often hosts academics from the region who stay at Malmö University campus and actively involve in Caucasus Studies courses and research.

Course modules

Introduction to Caucasus Studies
A language of the Caucasus (choice of Georgian and Russian)
Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus
History of the Caucasus

Read more about Caucasus Studies

 

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Syllabus

Syllabus for students spring 2021, autumn 2020

Course Code:
IM112L revision 3
Level of specialisation
G1N
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Language:
English
Date of ratification:
20 May 2020
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
31 August 2020
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
13 June 2019

Entry requirements

General entry requirements + English B.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can normally be included as a part of a general degree.

Purpose

The aim of the course is to give the student a broad knowledge of the Caucasus – a politically turbulent region with high ethnic diversity in a vulnerable geopolitical location. The course introduces students to the Caucasus region, its ethnic groups and languages, history and recent political developments.

Contents

The course consists of four modules:

1. Introduction to Caucasus Studies (7,5 credits)
This module introduces topics of relevance to studying the region such as geography, political and administrative divisions, ethnic groups, history, and more recent developments, including post-Soviet separatist conflicts.

2. A language of the Caucasus (7,5 credits)
The module gives basic knowledge of one of the languages of the Caucasus region as a useful tool in future field studies and work in the region or contacts with original materials. Examples of languages offered are Georgian and Russian but could also include other languages of the Caucasus.

3. History of the Caucasus (7,5 credits)
This module explores the ancient past of the Caucasus, the region’s incorporation into the Russian Empire, Soviet historical narratives, and considers how regional actors make sense of their history.

4. Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus (7,5 credits)
This module focuses on the political, economic and social developments in the Caucasus region in the post-Soviet period. This will also include discussions of the region’s inter- and intra-state conflicts as well as geopolitical perspectives and interests.

Learning outcomes

Introduction to Caucasus Studies

After completing the module the student will:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge of the Caucasus region, including its geography, ethnic composition, main languages, religions, demographic distribution, political systems, economy, administrative division;
  2. be able to discuss and critically reflect on the obtained knowledge of the geographical, political, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the Caucasus region.
  3. demonstrate ability to use basic academic formalities and academic language;
  4. demonstrate ability to complete assignments and exams within given timeframes and restrictions

A Language of the Caucasus

After completing the module the student will:
  1. demonstrate introductory knowledge of one language of the Caucasus;
  2. demonstrate ability to analyse basic structures of one language of the Caucasus
  3. be able to read basic texts and demonstrate basic understanding of the selected language
  4. be able to engage in basic production and simple communication in the selected language
  5. be able to complete assignments and exams within given timeframes and restrictions

History of the Caucasus

After completing the module the student will:
  1. demonstrate knowledge of significant historical events in the ancient and modern past of the Caucasus, and recognize selective interpretations thereof;
  2. be able to locate relevant sources, to engage in source criticism, and reference sources in an accurate and coherent manner;
  3. demonstrate ability to complete assignments and exams within given timeframes and restrictions;
  4. demonstrate ability to use basic academic formalities and academic language;

Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus

After completing the module the student will:
  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key political, social and economic developments in the post-soviet period in the Caucasus;
  2. be able to recognize and critically reflect on ongoing academic debates related to the post-soviet situation in the Caucasus;
  3. demonstrate ability to complete assignments and exams within given timeframes and restrictions;
  4. demonstrate ability to use basic academic formalities and academic language;

Learning activities

The course is designed as a full time flexible distance study. Learning activities include online lectures; mandatory quizzes and assignments; interactive exercises; online forum discussions; and web seminars. The majority of the student’s workload consists of independent reading and study.

Assessments

Introduction to Caucasus Studies
The student’s performance in the module is assessed by individual written assignments and quizzes.

  • Learning outcomes 1-4 are assessed by a portfolio of mandatory assignments and quizzes (2,5 credits)
  • Learning outcomes 1-4 are assessed by an individual take-home exam (5 credits)

A language of the Caucasus
The student’s performance in the module is assessed by individual assignments and quizzes, combining written and oral elements.
  • Learning outcomes 1-5 are assessed by a portfolio of mandatory assignments and quizzes (2,5 credits)
  • Learning outcomes 1-5 are assessed by an individual take-home exam (5 credits)

History of the Caucasus
The student’s performance in the module is assessed by individual written assignments.
  • Learning outcomes 1-4 are assessed by a portfolio of mandatory assignments (2,5 credits)
  • Learning outcomes 1-4 are assessed by an individual take-home exam (5 credits)

Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus
The student’s performance in the module is assessed by individual written assignments.
  • Learning outcomes 1-4 are assessed by a portfolio of mandatory assignments (2,5 credits)
  • Learning outcomes 1-4 are assessed by an individual take-home exam (5 credits)

Grading system
Portfolios are graded with Pass (G) or Fail (U)
Take-home exams are graded with Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).
The course grade is calculated as the amalgamate of the grades obtained in the individual modules.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

The course literature will be made available to students online through the university library and the course website.

Introduction to Caucasus Studies
  • Coene, F. The Caucasus: an introduction. Routledge, 2009
The module includes additional online resources and articles of approximately 150 pages.

A language of the Caucasus
Literature depends on the language chosen.
Russian Language materials include:
  • Kemple, Brian. 1992. Essential Russian Grammar. New York: Dover Publications.
  • Tchantouria, Revaz and Karina Vamling. 2020. Russian Lectures I (with audiofiles, exercises and wordlist), Malmö-Lund. Ebook in epub3 or other format.
Georgian language materials include:
  • Nikolaishvili M & N, Bagration-Davitashvili, 2012. Georgian Language (Intensive course), Georgian National Academy of Science, Tbilisi.
  • Tchantouria, Revaz, Vamling, Karina and Manana Kobaidze. 2018. Georgian Lectures (with audiofiles, exercises and wordlists), Lund-Malmö. In html or other format

History of the Caucasus
  • Banerji, Arap. 2006. 'Notes on the Histories of History in the Soviet Union' in Economic and Political Weekly 41 (9): 826-833.
  • Caucasus Analytical Digest. 2009. Writing National Histories: Coming to Terms with the Past.
  • Dudwick, Nora. 1990. 'The case of the Caucasian Albanians: Ethnohistory and ethnic politics' in Cahiers du monde russe et sovie´tique 31 (2-3): 377-383.
  • Gammer, Moshe and Vera Kaplan. 2013. 'Post-Soviet Narratives of the Conquest of the Caucasus' in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 61 (1): 26-46.
  • Garagozov, Rauf. 2012. 'Azerbaijani history and nationalism in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods: challenges and dilemmas' in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflicts 5 (2): 136-142.
  • King, Charles. 2008. The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kolstø, Pål & Aleksander Rusetskii. 2012. 'Power Differentials and Identity Formation: Images of Self and Other on the Russian-Georgian Boundary' in National Identities 14 (2): 139-155.
  • Rouvinski, Vladimir. 2007. '"History Speaks Our Language!" A Comparative Study of Historical Narratives in Soviet and Post-Soviet School Textbooks in the Caucasus' in Internationale Schulbuchforschung 29 (3): 235-257.
  • Suny, Ronald. 2009. 'Truth in Telling: Reconciling Realities in the Genocide of the Ottoman Armenians' in The American Historical Review 114 (4): 930-946.

Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus
  • Åslund, Anders. 2008. ‘Transition Economies.’ In: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Library of Economics and Liberty.
  • Cornell Caspian Consulting. 2002. The South Caucasus: A Regional Overview and Conflict Assessment, SIDA, Department for Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Dudwick, Nora, Elizabeth Gomart, and Alexandre Marc. 2003. When Things Fall Apart: Qualitative Studies of Poverty in the Former Soviet Union. Washington DC: The World Bank. [Selected chapters]
  • Fairbanks, Charles H. 2001. “Disillusionments in the Caucasus and Central Asia”. Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 49-56.
  • Gafarli, Orhan et al. 2016. “The Role of Global and Regional Actors in the South Caucasus”. Caucasus Edition - Journal of Conflict Transformation, June 1. 2016.
  • Hunter, Shireen T. “The Evolution of the Foreign Policy of the Transcaucasian States” In: Garry K. Bertsch et al. (eds), Crossroad and Conflict. Security and Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Florence: Taylor and Francis, 1999. pp 25-47.
  • Kempe, Iris et. al. (eds). ”Social Capital.” Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD), issue 31, November 2011. Pp: 1-18.
  • Malek, M. 2006. “The South Caucasus at the Crossroads: Ethno-territorial Conflicts, Russian Interests, and the Access to Energy Resources”. In: G. Hauser & F. Kernic (eds.) European security in transition. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006, p.145-160.
  • McFaul, Michael. 2005. “Transitions from Postcommunism”. Journal of Democracy, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 5-19.
  • Philip G. Roeder. 1998. “Liberalization and Ethnic Entrepreneurs in the Soviet Successor States” In: Beverly Crawford and Ronnie D. Lipschutz. (eds.) The Myth of “Ethnic Conflict”: Politics, Economics, and “Cultural” Violence. University of California at Berkeley. Pp. 78-107.
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Additional online resources and articles will be added when relevant.

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course is no longer offered or has undergone major changes, students will be offered two re-take sessions based on the syllabus in force at registration during a period of one year from the date of the implementation of the changes.

Contact

The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the Department of Global Political Studies.

Further information

GPSstudent - Malmö universitet,
Katrine Gotfredsen, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657590

Application

18 January 2021 - 06 June 2021 100% Distance (Malmö) Application code: mau-11150

National application round

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 39000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 39000 SEK

Application deadline 15 October

Apply

31 August 2020 - 17 January 2021 100% Distance (Malmö) Schedule

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 39000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 39000 SEK