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Central Asia in World History by Peter B. GoldenA vast region stretching roughly from the Volga River to Manchuria and the northern Chinese borderlands, Central Asia has been called the "pivot of history," a land where nomadic invaders and Silk Road traders changed the destinies of states that ringed its borders, including pre-modern Europe, the Middle East, and China. In Central Asia in World History, Peter B. Golden provides an engaging account of this important region, ranging from prehistory to the present, and focusing largely onthe unique melting pot of cultures that this region has produced. Golden describes the traders who braved the heat and cold along caravan routes to link East Asia and Europe; the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan and his successors, the largest contiguous land empire in history; the invention of gunpowder, which allowed the great sedentary empires to overcome the horse-based nomads; the power struggles of Russia and China, and later Russia and Britain, for control of the area. Finally, he discusses the region today, a key area that neighbors such geopolitical hot spots as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China.
Publication Date: 2011
Tajikistan in the New Central Asia by Lena JonsonCentral Asia has become the battleground for the major struggles of the 21st century: radical Islam versus secularism, authoritarianism versus identity politics, Eastern versus Western control of resources, and the American 'War on Terror'. Nowhere are these conflicts more starkly illustrated than in the case of Tajikistan. Embedded in the oil-rich Central Asian region, and bordering war-torn Afghanistan, Tajikistan occupies a geo-strategically pivotal position. It is also a major transit hub for the smuggling of opium, which eventually ends up in the hands of heroin dealers in Western cities. In this timely book, Lena Jonson examines Tajkistan's search for a foreign policy in the post 9/11 environment. She shows the internal contradictions of a country in every sense at the crossroads, reconciling its bloody past with an uncertain future She assesses the impact of regional developments on the reform movement in Tajikistan, and in turn examines how changes in Tajik society (whichis the only Central Asian country to have a legal Islamist party) might affect the region. The destiny of Tajikistan is intimately connected with that of Central Asia, and this thorough and penetrating book is essential reading for anyone seeking to make sense of this strategically vital region at a moment of transition.
Vladimir Putin and Central Asia by Lena JonsonPresident Vladimir Putin's consent after September 11th to the deployment of Western forces in Central Asia and to the US military's use of Central Asian airfields during the US-led operations in Afghanistan represented a dramatic turn in Russian Central Asian policy. How and why did Russian policy change? Was this in part due to Russia's decline in influence on the international arena? Lena Jonson examines Putin's policy from 1999 to 2004 towards Afghanistan and the four key states that surround it: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan and examines how Russia dealt with both the new security challenges of the region and increased foreign engagement.
Publication Date: 2004
Cinemas of the Other... Filmmakers from Central Asia by Gönül Dönmez-ColinUpdated collections of recent interviews with filmmakers whose works represent trends in the film industries of Central Asia and the Middle East, these two new geospecific editions expand upon the earlier volume Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Film-Makers from the Middle East and Central Asia. Following an introduction delineating the histories of the film industries of the countries that make up the Middle East and Central Asia--including Iran, Turkey, and the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan--both books contain interviews stretching over a decade, which position the filmmakers and their creative concerns within the social or political context of their respective countries. The striking variety of approaches toward each interview creates a rich diversity of tone and opens the door to a better understanding of images of "otherness" in film. In addition to transcripts of the interviews, each chapter also includes stills from important films discussed, biographical information about the filmmakers, and filmographies of their works. Gönül Dönmez-Colin offers in these expanded editions a carefully researched and richly detailed firsthand account of the developments and trends in these regional film industries that is sure to be appreciated by film scholars and researchers of the Middle East and Central Asia.
Publication Date: 2012
The Fight for Influence: Russia in Central Asia by Alexey MalashenkoRussian influence in Central Asia is waning. Since attaining independence, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have forged their own paths—building relationships with outside powers and throwing off the last vestiges of Soviet domination. But in many ways, Moscow still sees Central Asia through the lens of the Soviet Union, and it struggles to redefine Russian relations with the region. In The Fight for Influence, Alexey Malashenko offers a comprehensive analysis of Russian policies and prospects in Central Asia. It is clear that Russian policy in the formerly Soviet-controlled region is entering uncharted territory. But does Moscow understand the fundamental shifts under way? Malashenko argues that it is time for Russia to rethink its approach to Central Asia. Contents1. Wasted Opportunities 2. Regional Instruments of Influence 3. Russia and Islam in Central Asia: Problems of Migration 4. Kazakhstan and Its Neighborhood5. Kyrgyzstan—The Exception6. Tajikistan: Authoritarian, Fragile, and Facing Difficult Challenges7. Turkmenistan: No Longer Exotic, But Still Authoritarian8. Uzbekistan: Is There a Potential for Change?ConclusionWho Challenges Russia in Central Asia?
Publication Date: 2013
Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia by Madeleine ReevesIn Central Asia's Ferghana Valley, where Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan meet, state territoriality has taken on new significance in these states' second decade of independence, reshaping landscapes and transforming livelihoods in a densely populated, irrigation-dependent region. Through an innovative ethnography of social and spatial practice at the limits of the state, Border Work explores the contested work of producing and policing "territorial integrity" when significant stretches of new international borders remain to be conclusively demarcated or effectively policed. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, Madeleine Reeves follows traders, farmers, water engineers, conflict analysts, and border guards as they negotiate the practical responsibilities and social consequences of producing, policing, and deriving a livelihood across new international borders that are often encountered locally as "chessboards" rather than lines. She shows how the negotiation of state spatiality is bound up with concerns about legitimate rule and legitimate movement, and explores how new attempts to secure the border, materially and militarily, serve to generate new sources of lived insecurity in a context of enduring social and economic inter-dependence. A significant contribution to Central Asian studies, border studies, and the contemporary anthropology of the state, Border Work moves beyond traditional ethnographies of the borderland community to foreground the effortful and intensely political work of producing state space.
Publication Date: 2014
After Alexander: Central Asia Before Islam by Georgina Herrmann; Joe Cribb (Eds)This is a new study of the history, archaeology and numismatics of Central Asia, an area of great significance for our understanding of the ancient and early medieval world. This vast, land-locked region, with its extreme continental climate, was a centre of civilization with great metropolises. Its cosmopolitan population followed different religions (Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Buddhism), and traded extensively with China, India, the Middle East, and Europe. The millennium from the overthrow of the first world empire of Achaemenian Persians by Alexander the Great to the arrival of the Arabs and Islam was a period of considerable change and conflict. The volume focuses on recent investigations in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. It provides a complex analysis of the symbiosis between the city life based on oases, and the nomadic peoples grazing their animals in the surrounding semi-deserts. Other topics include the influence of the Greek colonists on military architecture, and the major impact of the Great Kushans on the spread of Buddhism and on the development of the Central Asian metropolis. And although written documents rarely survive, coinage has provided essential evidence for the political and cultural history of the region. These essays will be of interest to the scholar, the student, and the armchair traveller
Publication Date: 2007
For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia by Robert D. CrewsRussia occupies a unique position in the Muslim world. Unlike any other non-Islamic state, it has ruled Muslim populations for over five hundred years. Though Russia today is plagued by its unrelenting war in Chechnya, Russia's approach toward Islam once yielded stability. In stark contrast to the popular "clash of civilizations" theory that sees Islam inevitably in conflict with the West, Robert D. Crews reveals the remarkable ways in which Russia constructed an empire with broad Muslim support.In the eighteenth century, Catherine the Great inaugurated a policy of religious toleration that made Islam an essential pillar of Orthodox Russia. For ensuing generations, tsars and their police forces supported official Muslim authorities willing to submit to imperial directions in exchange for defense against brands of Islam they deemed heretical and destabilizing. As a result, Russian officials assumed the powerful but often awkward role of arbitrator in disputes between Muslims. And just as the state became a presence in the local mosque, Muslims became inextricably integrated into the empire and shaped tsarist will in Muslim communities stretching from the Volga River to Central Asia.For Prophet and Tsar draws on police and court records, and Muslim petitions, denunciations, and clerical writings--not accessible prior to 1991--to unearth the fascinating relationship between an empire and its subjects. As America and Western Europe debate how best to secure the allegiances of their Muslim populations, Crews offers a unique and critical historical vantage point.
Publication Date: 2006
Selected E-Books at Colby
Post-Soviet Chaos by Joma NazparyIn the 1990s the former states of the Soviet Union underwent dramatic and revolutionary changes. As a result of enforced, neo-liberal reforms the fledgling republics were exposed to the familiar effects of globalised capital. Focusing on Kazakhstan, where violence and corruption are now facts of everyday life, Joma Nazpary examines the impact of the new capitalism on the people of Central Asia. Using in-depth interviews and material gathered over more than a year's fieldwork, Nazpary explores the responses of the dispossessed to their dispossession. He uncovers the construction of 'imagined communities', grounded in Soviet nostalgia, which serve to resist the economic order, as well as the more practical survival strategies, especially of women, often forced into prostitution where they are subject to violence and stigma. By revealing the extent to which Kazakh society has disintegrated and the cultural responses to it, Nazpary argues that dispossession has been a stronger unifying force than even ethnicity or religion. Comparing the effects of neo-liberal reforms in Kazakhstan with those in other regions, he concludes that causes, forms and consequences of dispossession in Kazakhstan are particular instances of a much wider global trend.
Publication Date: 2001
The New Central Asia by Emilian KavalskiThis book focuses on Central Asia's place in world affairs and how international politics of state-building has affected the Asian region, thus filling the gaps in ongoing discussions on the rise of Asia in global governance. it also attempts to generalize and contextualize the "Central Asian experience" and re-evaluate its comparative relevance, by explaining the complex dynamics of Central Asian politics through a detailed analysis of the effects of major international actors - both international organizations as well as current and rising great powers.
Publication Date: 2010
Central Asia: Views from Washington, Moscow, and Beijing by Huasheng Zhao et al.The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 rapidly and irrevocably transformed Central Asia's political landscape. This region of five sovereign states with a population of some fifty million people quickly became a major focus of interest and influence for competing poles of power. The eminent contributors to this volume offer a four-part analysis of the region's new importance in world affairs. Rajan Menon examines the place of Central Asia in a global perspective. Eugene Rumer considers the perspective of the post-9/11 United States. Dimitri Trenin looks at the region from the standpoint of traditional hegemon Russia. Huasheng Zhao provides the view from economic superpower-in-the-making China.
Publication Date: 2007
Language Politics in Contemporary Central Asia by Jacob M. Landau; Barbara Kellner-HeinkeleNationalist leaders in the former Soviet states strive for national identity in both the political and cultural domains. Their language policies contend with Russian-speaking intelligentsias, numerous ethnic minorities, and sizeable Russian communities backed by the Russian Federation - all presenting major challenges to facing the legacy of Soviet rule. Drawing on many years of research, interviews with educators and officials, and visits to the region, Barbara Kellner-Heinkele and Jacob M. Landau explore the politics of language and its intersection with identity in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. With special attention to language education in schools and universities within each state and debates over bilingualism versus multilingualism, their insights offer researchers of politics, linguistics, and Central Asian studies a comprehensive account of a highly politicized debate.
Publication Date: 2012
Borderless Bazaars and Regional Integration in Central Asia by Bartomiej Kaminski; Saumya MitraTrade that straddles borders in Central Asia plays a vital role in the livelihoods of border communities and buttresses prosperity in often poor regions. By strengthening commercial ties, cultural understanding and deepening community relationships, border trade nurtures amicable relations between neighboring countries. This book examines the characteristics of trade intermediated by a network of bazaars in Central Asia and its significance for local economies. It uncovers the dynamic phenomenon of bazaars in propelling trade. Bazaars were invented in central Asia centuries ago; in their modern form, as highly flexible and low cost centers for trade, endowed with modern sophisticated logistics, bazaars provide a channel parallel to that of formal trade. Bazaars play major roles in regional and national chains of production and distribution with national networks strongly integrated and overlapping across Central Asian economies. They are the major agents for border trade, which fights poverty by cheapening products and by creating employment opportunities, especially for women. The book examines the public policy implications of bazaar or non-standard trade and actions that could be taken to foster such trade. A light regulatory touch and a low fiscal burden would help fight poverty. Improvements in the business climate and elimination of harassment of traders by local officials as well as easing conditions for the movement of peoples and vehicles would be hugely beneficial.But this book goes beyond trade. It considers the potential for border community cooperation in a variety of activities, public services, and shared infrastructure, culture that could yield rich dividends and make meaningless borders as separators of human activities. It examines the example of border cooperation in Europe through Euroregios as a model for Central Asia. Finally, the book concludes with a series of recommendations for public authorities intended to deepen border trade and cooperation.
Publication Date: 2012
Islamic Central Asia by Scott C. Levi & Ron Sela (Eds)Islamic Central Asia is the first English-language anthology of primary documents for the study of Central Asian history. Scott C. Levi and Ron Sela draw from a vast array of historical sources to illustrate important aspects of the social, cultural, political, and economic history of Islamic Central Asia. These documents--many newly translated and most not readily available for study--cover the period from the 7th-century Arab conquests to the 19th-century Russian colonial era and provide new insights into the history and significance of the region.
Publication Date: 2009
Adapting to Climate Change in Eastern Europe and Cental Asia by Marianne Fay, Rachel Block, Jane Ebinger (Eds)The region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) is already experiencing the consequences of climate change: increasing variability, warmer temperatures, altered hydrology. Events such as droughts, floods, heat waves, windstorms, and forest fires are increasing in number and severity. The concentration of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere guarantees that similar or greater changes are yet to come--even if the world were to completely stop emitting CO2 today.This region is particularly vulnerable because of its legacy of socioeconomic issues, environmental mismanagement, aging infrastructure and housing, and under-investment in hydrometeorological, rural, and health institutions. The resulting adaptation deficit will exacerbate climate risks and hamper the ability of sectors that could gain from climate change, such as agriculture, to reap the full benefits.'Adapting to Climate Change in Eastern Europe and Central Asia' presents an overview of what adaptation to climate change might mean for the countries of ECA. It starts with a discussion of emerging best-practice adaptation planning around the world and a review of the latest climate projections. It then discusses possible actions to improve resilience organized around impacts on natural resources, health, the unbuilt environment of agriculture and forestry, and the built environment of infrastructure and housing. The book concludes with a discussion of two areas in great need of strengthening: disaster preparedness and hydrometeorological services.The next decade offers a window of opportunity for ECA countries to make their development more resilient to climate change. While some impacts of climate change are already being felt, they are likely to remain manageable over the next decade, offering the ECA region a short period of time to focus on actions that have numerous benefits both today and in the future.
Publication Date: 2010
From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam and Culture in Central Asia by Razia SultanovaWomen have traditionally played a vital part in Islam throughout Central Asia - the vast area from the Caspian Sea to Siberia. With this ground-breaking and original study, Razia Sultanova examines the experiences of Muslim women in the region and the ways in which religion has shaped their daily lives and continues to do so today. From Shamanism to Sufism explores the fundamental interplay between religious belief and the cultural heritage of music and dance and is the first book to focus particularly on the role of women. Ritual and music are at the heart of Central Asian and Islamic culture, not only at weddings and funerals but in all aspects of everyday life. Through her in-depth analysis of these facets of cultural life within Central Asian society, From Shamanism to Sufism offers important insights into the lives of the societies in the region. The role of women has often been neglected in studies of religious culture and this book fills an enormous gap, restoring women to their rightful historical and cultural context. It will be essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the History or Religion of Central Asia or in Global Islam.
Publication Date: 2011
Disappearing Peoples? Indigenous Groups... in South and Central Asia by Barbara Brower, Barbara Rose Johnston (Eds)South and Central Asia is a region of extraordinary cultural and environmental diversity and home to nearly one-quarter of the earth's population. Among these diverse peoples are some whose ways of life are threatened by the accelerating assault of forces of change including environmental degradation, population growth, land loss, warfare, disease, and the penetration of global markets.This volume examines twelve groups whose way of life is endangered. Some are "indigenous" peoples, some are not;each group represents a unique answer to the question of how to survive and thrive on the planet earth, and illustrates both the threats and the responses of peoples caught up in the struggle to sustain cultural meaning, identity, and autonomy. Each chapter, written by an expert scholar for a general audience, offers a cultural overview, explores both threats to survival and the group's responses, and provokes discussion and further research with "food for thought."This powerful documentation of both tragedy and hope for the twenty-first-century survival of centuries-old cultures is a key reference for anyone interested in the region, in cultural survival, or in the interplay of diversification and homogenization.