The seminar from which this collection of essays derived was born in the observation of three ideologically distinct revolutions that engulfed adjacent Persian-speaking countries—Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan—between 1978 and 1994. In each case, the political upheaval was accompanied and/or driven by transformations in cultural aspirations and identity negotiations, and major changes in information institutions, especially formal and informal education. In Tajikistan in the early 1990s, a civil war involving regional and religious factionalism, little publicized in the West, followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union, killed perhaps 40,000 people, and created a wave of refugees into adjacent countries, including still war-worn Afghanistan. Its eventual resolution left an occupying contingent of the Russian army in the country for several years. The country is struggling to keep its educational infrastructure economically viable, with government salaries for some university faculty in the humanities still hovering around $10-15 per month, others slowly rising to a still nominal $40-50/month, in the aftermath of the collapse of state revenues that ensued with the end of the Soviet system. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia, at the postsecondary level, and the Soros Foundation/Step by Step, at the elementary level, now seek to develop new pedagogies and new curriculum materials to meet the needs of civic education for popular engagement in a fragile post-Soviet democracy.
KeywordsRefugee Camp Civic Education Religious Factionalism Muslim Brotherhood Identity Negotiation
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- Street, Brian. 1984. Literacy in Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar