All posts by James Pickett

James Pickett is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently completing a study of Islamic scholars in Central Asia during the nineteenth century, and is beginning an investigation of semi- colonialism and cultures of documentation in the Islamic world.

The Remarkable Life of Zainap Maksudova: Alfrid Bustanov on his New Research Project

This post is the continuation of a discussion of Bustanov’s documentary: “The Legacy of Siberian Muslims” 

Despite still being at the beginning of his career, Bustanov has published numerous books and articles on a diverse array of topics in English, Russian, and Tatar.  The documentary discussed in our previous article was part of a broader research agenda, the results of which Bustanov published in Russian: Knizhnaia kul’tura sibirskikh musul’man (Moscow: Marjani Publishing House, 2013).  Continue reading The Remarkable Life of Zainap Maksudova: Alfrid Bustanov on his New Research Project

Hidden Treasure-Trove of Manuscripts: The Oriental Department of the St. Petersburg State University Library

St. Petersburg’s status as a world-class destination for the study of Islamic manuscripts is well-established.  The Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Rare Books Collection of the National Library are hallowed grounds for pawing through ancient texts.  Continue reading Hidden Treasure-Trove of Manuscripts: The Oriental Department of the St. Petersburg State University Library

Perso-Helleno-Indo-Scythian-Sino Eurasia: Jim Millward’s Take on the Central Eurasian Survey Course

Several months ago I asked Scott Levi how he managed to squeeze in two thousand years of Central Asian history into a single introductory class.  More recently, I continued the conversation with Jim Millward to learn about his own undergraduate and graduate courses of similar chronological and thematic scope.  Continue reading Perso-Helleno-Indo-Scythian-Sino Eurasia: Jim Millward’s Take on the Central Eurasian Survey Course

Long Shadow of Herodotus: Joe Ricci on Ancient Rome’s own Perilous Frontier

While in St. Petersburg on a recent research trip, I was intrigued to learn that Joe Ricci, a colleague from my Princeton cohort, is living in the city long term.  After all, I knew Ricci as a scholar of Byzantine history, and Constantinople lies a rather long way from the Gulf of Finland, and Rome further still.  What follows is the outcome of a lengthy discussion about steppe-sedentary dynamics, Late Roman history, and Soviet archaeology.
Continue reading Long Shadow of Herodotus: Joe Ricci on Ancient Rome’s own Perilous Frontier

You know you’re researching in Eurasia when…

AHA Today recently published a post about mundane problems commonly faced by historians.  Some will be familiar to scholars of Eurasia (e.g. “someone takes your favorite seat at the archive”), others less so – as many of our contributors pointed out, being annoyed that another scholar took the last power outlet presupposes working in a country with reliable electricity.
Continue reading You know you’re researching in Eurasia when…