Central Asia in World History 2016 Summer Institute


Central Asia in World History is a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for middle and high school teachers that will take place at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio Sunday, July 10-Friday, July 29, 2016. The Institute will engage teachers in a deeper understanding of how Central Asia has historically functioned as a crossroads of intercultural exchange, connecting the great civilizations on the Eurasian periphery, giving rise to world empires of its own in antiquity and the medieval era, and serving as the playing ground for the Anglo-Russian “Great Game” in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This will be done through expert presentations, analysis of primary material, both narrative and documentary, screenings and discussion of relevant films, immersion in traditional food and music of the region, and the development of unit plans for classroom use.

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Topics to Be Covered

  • Silk Roads and Steppe Empires: An Introduction to Central Asia in World History
  • Inner Asian Nomadic Culture and Society in Historical Perspective
  • The Pastoral Nomadic Way of Life
  • Turks in World History: Emergence to Empire
  • The Rise of Islam in the Central Asian Context
  • The Turkic Migrations in the Middle East
  • Travelers to and from Central Asia and their Accounts
  • Music of the Silk Road Culture: Classical Music of the East
  • Culinary Adventures Along the Silk Road
  • Great Walls and Great Horses: Pastoral Nomads on the Chinese Frontier
  • The Nomadic Advantage: Mongol Conquests in Eurasian Context
  • The Mongol Empire and its Legacy
  • From the Timurid to the Russian Empires: Early Modern Central Asia in World Historical Perspective
  • Russification of the Region
  • Gender and Society in Islamic Central Asia
  • Islam, “Modernity” and Islamic Reform Movements in Central Asian Society
  • Central Asian Islam in the Modern World
  • Central Asia Today: the Creation of Nations

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For more detailed information on the Institute, please see the Overview section.


The application deadline is March 1, 2016.

You will be notified of  your acceptance on March 31, 2016.

The Central Asia in World History Summer Institute builds upon the work of the 2012 Central Asia in World History Summer Seminar, also funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lesson plans created by participants are also available.

Past Testimonials

"I have learned so much about Central Asia in just two weeks. Once the seminar was over, I not only created a lesson based on my recently acquired advanced knowledge, but I went through my curriculum and strengthened various segments with rich content and examples. I can now do a better job teaching about this area because my understanding of the topic has drastically increased. Based on our lesson plan presentations, I got exposed to several activities that I plan on using in my classroom. I also made connections with colleagues and plan on collaborating with them further."

"The selection of faculty deserves applauds. Each scholar/expert enhanced and developed the historical perspective. Each offered additional resources and graciously offered their presentations for our own use. The director should be commended for his excellent preparation and the diversity of speakers that covered the theme with depth. The selection of teachers to participate in the program enhanced the experience as the diversity and varied experiences of each provided wide perspectives from Hawaii to Washington D.C., and from Boston to California and everywhere in between."

"This was a cohesive, intellectually stimulating course."

"The institute on Central Asian History was a phenomenal experience. The professors were very knowledgeable and gave great insight into the field. I have plenty of resources including textbooks, novels, PowerPoint’s, and maps to incorporate into my own curriculum."

"Scott Levi was a fantastic director. He was organized, professional, helpful, accommodating, and has a great sense of humor. He is extremely passionate about Central Asian History and passed his excitement on to everyone in the room."

Contact Us

Questions can be addressed to Eileen Kunkler, Institute coordinator, at kunkler.10@osu.edu or (614)292-8770.

National Endowment for the Humanities 50 Years

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of the National
Endowment for the Humanities.

Photography by Philip Huber