Publishing the European Handbook of Central Asian Studies: History, Politics and Societies is the most ambitious task of the EISCAS project – to create a teaching tool that does not exist yet in Europe and will be crucial for developing and strengthening the education of Central Asian Studies at EU universities. The handbook is designed to improve the quality and prospects of teaching of CAS in the EU as it will transfer latest research findings into education and directly prepare these materials for the classroom by providing exercises, assignments, e-learning materials, tips for future study, etc.

At the same time, the handbook also aims to place the European research tradition and European perspectives and insights on CAS firmly at the center of this global research field by becoming a multi-disciplinary reference work for CAS all over the world.

Since this project is co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Program this handbook and its complementary didactic materials will be available on this website and free of costs under a fair-use license. A fair-use license indicates that any copying of copyrighted material can be done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Such Open Access is a cornerstone in the vision of European projects, and all members of EISCAS support this policy fully.

This European Handbook of Central Asian Studies: History, Politics and Societies is foremost directed at learners of Central Asian Studies (CAS) – the primary target audience – in this case students in their final years of their bachelor program, master students, and junior PhD-students. (The book can be used in a classroom context, but also for self-study.)

Since this is a diverse main group, every handbook chapter will include the following elements to aid them with their learning process:

  • Introductory questions
  • (Learning outcomes)
  • Summaries/conclusions (after each section)
  • Cases / Case studies
    • Aimed at providing depth to an argument/statement
    • Aimed at providing context to an argument/statement
    • As the basis for an assignment/exercise
  • A future reading list
  • Exercises for revision, self-study

In addition, to facilitate learning the handbook in general will also include:

  • A glossary of concepts (in the beginning of the book)
  • A list of abbreviations and their meaning
  • Maps (for visualization the explained phenomena/trends/etc.)
  • Other visual materials
  • Links to e-learning materials (recorded lectures)
  • A guide on self-study (within introductory chapter 3 “How to use this handbook” by J. Hadaś)
  • Some career advice for students (within introductory chapter 1 “Why study Central Asia” by A. Fauve)

The second target audience are the teachers of these students. The handbook will encompass different tools to aid this particular group with constructing lesson plans, formulating homework, selecting relevant handbook chapters for their courses, setting up study programs, completing/enriching courses by selecting e-learning materials, assignments, etc.

To this purpose each handbook chapter will contain:

  • Learning outcomes
  • Cases / Case studies
    • As the basis for an assignment/exercise
  • A whole range of exercises at different levels:
    • For review (testing basic knowledge)
    • For testing insight (deeper knowledge & skills)
    • For writing assignments
    • For classroom activities

The handbook in general will also offer to teachers:

  • A full list of learning outcomes covered in the handbook (at the end of the handbook)
  • Curriculum recommendations (within intro chapter 1 “Why study Central Asia” by A. Fauve)
  • Links to e-learning materials (recorded lectures)
  • A guide on teaching techniques, which are promoted in the handbook (within introductory chapter 3 “How to use this handbook” by J. Hadaś)

The third target audience are of course (young) scholars, academics from related disciplines that aim to migrate into the field of CAS, but not excluding the general public or other experts. They will be reading the handbook to increase their understanding about the region or in search for references and insights by its authors. Most probably, this group will use the handbook on their own terms, and will do so selectively without guidance of a mentor, promotor or teacher.

Nonetheless, each handbook chapter contains some elements that they will find useful:

  • Introductory questions
  • Summaries/conclusions (after each section)
  • Cases / Case studies [see lower]
    • Aimed at providing depth to an argument/statement
    • Aimed at providing context to an argument/statement
  • A future reading list

The handbook in general will also offer them:

  • A smart index with four categories: names, places, concepts and events
  • A guide on self-study (within introductory chapter 3 “How to use this handbook” by J. Hadaś)
  • A glossary of concepts (in the beginning of the book)
  • A list of abbreviations and their meaning
  • Maps (for visualization the explained phenomena/trends/etc.)
  • Other visual materials

As described above, the handbook thus caters to three different audiences and has various tools to facilitate their process of studying the region. This handbook thus differs radically from existing handbooks, which are predominantly ‘author-based’ and narrative. While such books may sometimes also be used for teaching, and can be excellent reference works, they were not designed for teaching, and therefore demand much more preparatory work and creativity from teachers in order to be used to this purpose.

By focusing first on students, then on their teachers, and thirdly on advanced readers this book project actually increases the variety of end-users, and does not narrow them down to one segment by discriminating others. As experienced readers, scholars and other experts can easily read over the learning outcomes, skip exercises entirely and focus solely on the text. This will not hamper their reading-process. And many of them will enjoy to watch an online lecture (related to the chapter topics of their interest). On the other hand, the other two target audiences require more assistance as to make optimal use of such a handbook.

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- ONLINE SURVEY -

Dear Central Asian Expert.

EISCAS is an international education project that aims to improve the quality of teaching Central Asian Studies (CAS) by making new didactic materials and formulating recommendations for teachers, students and institutions.

Below you will find a survey especially designed for experts in this field.

The aim of the survey is to map professional trajectories of CAS experts/scholars/teachers in Europe and beyond in order to create curriculum design recommendations.

All project results will be freely available by the end of the project on our website (eiscas.eu).

Link to the survey

We greatly appreciate your feedback and support.

We did our best to keep the survey short, and we thank you in advance for your time in providing detailed answers.

PLEASE SHARE this survey with other specialists of Central Asia Studies you are in contact with.

CONTEXT:
The EISCAS project stands for: EURASIAN INSIGHTS: Strengthening Central Asian Studies in Europe.

Project number:2018-1-PL01-KA203-050674

Project duration: 1 September 2018 until 30 June 2021 (34 months).

The project is co-funded by the Erasmus plus program of the European Union.

Our website: eiscas.eu

For more info about our project
For more info about our partners

Thank you in advance for your feedback and sharing,

The EISCAS team