Central Asian and Afghanistan Studies – Københavns Universitet

Central Asian and Afghanistan Studies

Elective at BA level

The BA elective in Central Asian and Afghanistan Studies is under the Study board of the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) and the corps of external examiners for Persian.

The elective in Central Asian and Afghanistan Studies is standardized at 45 ECTS credit points. Students must attend three regionally relevant courses, each worth 15 ECTS points. They should normally start with the introductory course regularly offered in the autumn semester. The elective modules can also be used as individual electives. 

The main areas of study are defined as the vast landlocked area situated in the heart of the Eurasian landmass that includes the republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Northeastern Iran, Mongolia, as well as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. From the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) onwards the trade routes, retrospectively named by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen the Silk Routes, witnessed a lively exchange of goods, technologies and ideas between the great agrarian empires of East Asia and West Eurasia. Following the decline of the large nomadic empires which temporarily united nomadic and sedentary groups into one vast polity, in the late nineteenth century the region became the stage where the expansionist interests of the great colonial powers Russia and Great Britain clashed in what became known as the 'Great Game'. Following the inclusion of much of Central Asia into the Russian Empire (and later in the Soviet Union) as well as into China, these parts became inaccessible to foreign researchers for over 70 years. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the new independent “-stan” states (see above) in the late twentieth century as well as the general acceptance of the market economy all over the region, including China, opened up new possibilities both for the ethnographic study of contemporary Central Asia and for archival research into its history.

Students will be initiated into ongoing scholarly debates on current issues in various disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences, while at the same time acquiring specialized regional knowledge with a strong historical dimension. Equal attention will be paid to research based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival sources as well as to the macro-analyses provided by political scientists, economists and regional experts. Courses will include lectures and seminars on historical and contemporary issues both as local and as transnational phenomena embedded in the broader Eurasian context.


The BA elective in Central Asian and Afghanistan Studies is part of a three year BA course which is standardized at 180 ECTS credit points. This is achieved by obtaining 45 ECTS in the elective part and 135 ECTS in the main discipline. Students should have obtained a minimum of 45 ECTS in their main discipline before starting their BA elective. It is recommended that they have earned 120 ECTS in their main discipline before embarking on their BA elective.

Most of the teaching takes place at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (Institut for Tværkulturelle og Regionale Studier), in KUA2, Karen Blixens vej 4, Building 10.


Students will acquire knowledge about the peoples, societies, cultures, religions and history of Central Asia and Afghanistan as well as the necessary theoretical and methodic tools for the academic study of these topics. In the end of the course they will be able to critically approach and analyze ongoing political, economic and social phenomena of this macro-region in their historical and global contexts.   


Read the curriculum plan for Central Asian and Afghanistan Studies (look under 'Tilvalg').

Course Catalogue

In the course catalogue at http://kurser.ku.dk you can find a list of courses offered.

More information

For more information about the electives at the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies please contact the student guidance at your department.