Welcome to Bactriana. In the coming months your humble blogger will endeavor to cover developments in Eurasian history: What new publications are on the horizon? What is the latest intel on archives and research libraries in the region? Which historiographical debates are catching fire? How are classroom instruction and syllabi in the field evolving?
The Greek term Bactriana (more commonly Bactria) refers to the swathe of settler colonies founded by Alexander the Great in northern Afghanistan, which persisted in the region as independent kingdoms and city-states for hundreds of years even after being cut off from the Seleucid Empire. I chose the intentionally vague title to allow coverage of a wide variety of topics and also to hint at my own interests and research experience, which focus geographically on Turko-Persia and topically on Islam, particularly during the early modern and modern periods. The Greco-Bactrian kingdoms are now little more than rubble, but the collision and intermingling of civilizations invoked by the historical episode are what drew many of us to Central Asian studies in the first place.
If you have any suggestions for features or tips about forthcoming history-related scholarship, conferences, grants, that you would like to see covered here, please email TheCESSBlogEditor@ gmail.com. In the meantime, tune in soon for the first substantive post: “The Party is Not Over: Archival Adventures in Tajikistan,” which will detail Artemy Kalinovsky‘s experiences in the little-accessed Archive of the Communist Party of Tajikistan in Dushanbe.