Those of us who devote our careers to the history of Islamic Central Asia frequently wonder why scholarly interest in the field remains low. A survey of publicly-available data supports this impression: of the relatively few scholars who self-identify as Central Asianists in the member directories of organizations such as MESA or AAS, only a handful indicate reading skills in pre-modern Arabic-script Turkic-language sources. That is, while there are many people with solid backgrounds in Russian, Persian, and Chinese sources, and some proficient in modern Turkic languages such as Uzbek, very few could conduct primary research in the language of Babur, Navai, and countless scribes: Chaghatay. Continue reading To Build Central Asian Studies, Invite People In: Teach More Chaghatay by Eric Schluessel, University of Montana
(Reposted by agreement with the Exeter Central Asian Studies Network. The original, posted on Jan. 21, 2014, can be found here.) Continue reading From Exeter CASN, Edward Lemon’s “Quoting Marx in a Tajik University: Producing Docile Bodies”
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
One of my aims here on Bactriana is to fuel a dialogue not only about Central Asian historical scholarship, but teaching as well. I reached out to Scott Levi at the Ohio State University for an initial foray into this topic because his research has endeavored to place Central Asia within the broader dialogue of world history. Infusing intimidating proper nouns like “Qarakitai” and “Maturidi” with thematic historical significance in an introductory survey course is no simple task, but one for which Levi is especially well-suited.
Continue reading Two Millennia in Four Months: Scott Levi on Taming the Central Asian History Survey Course
At a time when Central Asia seems to have ominously emerged from obscurity into the western political consciousness as a “Middle East in Training,” it is worth considering how broader western audiences acquire information about Central Asia beyond the constructions of policy analysts and Borat. One enduring and traditional source is that of museums, whose explicit institutional intention is to put art and culture on display to create a specific narrative for consumption. Continue reading Framing Central Asian Art…