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Extended Study to Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan

SOSC 210: Oil and Water: Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan
Director: Professor Kira Stevens, Department of History and Russian and Eurasian Studies, and Associate Professor Jessica Graybill, Department of Geography and Russian and Eurasian Studies
On-campus course: Spring 2018
Tentative travel dates: May 15 - June 6, 2018 or May 22 - June 12, 2018
Travel locations: Aral Sea; Baku, Azerbaijan; and the Silk Road
Course credit: 1
Prerequisites: Must have completed one of the following courses by the end of Spring 2018:
HIST 263, POSC 270, GEOG 311, or GEOG 328
Application Deadline: October 27, 2017
On-campus course followed by three weeks in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan

Information Sessions:

Thursday, October 19th at 4:15pm in 201 Lawrence and
Wednesday, October 25th at 4:15pm in 217 Ho Science Center

To Apply:

Along with the completed application, please submit the following documents to Please indicate your preferred Extended Study destination in the subject line of your email.
  1. Download and complete the Extended Study application here.
  2. A personal essay of no more than 500 words, either as a Word document or PDF, explaining why you wish to join this extended study program and what contribution it will make to your education. Also include, if you wish, any characteristics or qualities you possess that you feel would benefit the group.
  3. Your unofficial transcript. Unofficial transcripts may be printed and/or downloaded from Colgate's Portal (
  4. A copy of your passport (if you have one)


Oil and Water: Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan will visit the ancient oases of the Silk Road and the bustling modern cities that persist in these same sites along a new ‘silk road.’  Our purpose in visiting 5 of the fabulous cultural and natural sites of the Silk Road will be analyze how the control of oil and water resources have shaped growth, prosperity, and their sustainability over time in these locations. Thus, we will examine how the ancient treatment of water resources sponsored the growth of trading kingdoms along the Silk Road.  Recent Empires and authoritarian nation-states in the region have deal with water resources more profligately. On ES, we’ll take a camping trip deep into the Aral Sea bed, desiccated as a result of political competition over water.  Natural gas and oil are rich resources in both Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan; we will look at how these resources were treated religiously and then as fuel in the pre-modern world, while emphasizing the key roles that oil and natural gas play in the modern economies of both countries. A half-credit course “Oil and Water” will develop the intellectual framework for examining Oil and Water in the past-and-present context of Silk Road oases. This trip occurs during Ramadan, but Uzbek stores and restaurants will be open until Eid, which is after our departure. Open to first-years, sophomore, and juniors.

NOTE:  Both components of the course (on- and off-campus) must be completed for credit.