The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China is home to some 12 million indigenous Turkic speaking Muslims, primarily Uyghurs but also smaller numbers of Kazakhs and others. It is now one of the most heavily policed areas in the world. Inhabitants are controlled and monitored to an extraordinary degree and detained in extraordinary numbers. These extreme policies are justified by the claim that China is fighting Islamic radicalisation and extremism.
Here’s a puzzle:
In Kunduz (now northern Afghanistan) the Friday sermon was read in the name of the ruling dynasty of Bukhara rather than the local Qataghan dynasts, at least during the 1850s. The Friday sermon (khuṭba) has been an Islamic symbol of sovereignty for over a thousand years. However, Bukharan troops had never set foot in Kunduz, nor had they extracted resources from that territory (at least during the reign of the Manghits, 1747-1920).
Can the subaltern draw a map? This post attempts no answer to the question, but rather illustrates how a non-European habitat’s invisibility in modern “scientific” geography might raise the question of national or other biases in cartography. Continue reading Mapping a non-European habitat
Renat Maps of Jungar Territory and Environs, ca. 1730
The maps brought to Europe from Central Asia by Johan Gustaf Renat (1682-1744) in the early eighteenth century are little known outside a small circle of specialists. The two maps, together with sketches, copies, and translations provided by Renat and others are now available to the English-speaking public, following several centuries of being nigh unreachable. Continue reading What 18th century maps from Central Asia reveal
The CESS Map Room: Projections of Past and Present
Welcome to the CESS Map Room. I hope the title brings to mind the wooden-paneled halls of nineteenth-century orientalists, or perhaps even the scholars themselves ensconced in study surrounded by globes and framed maps—works of artful science crafted with both painstaking effort and bold imagination.
Continue reading The CESS Map Room: a new Thematic Column by Michael Hancock-Parmer