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From the time of the Crimean War through the fall of the Tsar, the question of what to do about the Russian empire's large Muslim population was a highly contested issue among educated Russians both inside and outside the government. As formulated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Muslim Question comprised a complex set of ideas and concerns that centered on the problems of reimagining and governing the tremendously diverse Russian empire in the face of the challenges presented by the modernizing world. Basing her analysis on extensive research in archival and primary sources, Elena I. Campbell reconstructs the issues, debates, and personalities that shaped the development of Russian policies toward the empire's Muslims and the impact of the Muslim Question on the modernizing path that Russia would follow.
The Mongols and Their Eurasian Predecessors
Nomads As Agents of Cultural Change illuminates and complicates nomadic roles as active promoters of cultural exchange within a vast and varied region. It makes available important original scholarship on the new turn in the study of the Mongol empire and on relations between the nomadic and sedentary worlds. By bringing together a distinguished group of scholars from different disciplines, this book explores the role of nomads in both east and west Asia through ancient and early medieval times. With focus given to the far flung Mongol empire of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, this comparative process provides a clearer understanding of the key role that Eurasian pastoral nomads played in the history of the Old World and the complex cultural dynamic that existed between nomads and their agricultural and urban neighbors.
The Mongols, Buddhism, and the State in Late Imperial China
Although it is generally believed that the Manchus controlled the Mongols through their patronage of Tibetan Buddhism, scant attention has been paid to the Mongol view of the Qing imperial project. In contrast to other accounts of Manchu rule, Our Great Qing focuses not only on what images the metropole wished to project into Mongolia, but also on what images the Mongols acknowledged themselves. Rather than accepting the Manchu’s use of Buddhism, Johan Elverskog begins by questioning the static, unhistorical, and hegemonic view of political life implicit in the Buddhist explanation. By stressing instead the fluidity of identity and Buddhist practice as processes continually developing in relation to state formations, this work explores how Qing policies were understood by Mongols and how they came to see themselves as Qing subjects. In his investigation of Mongol society on the eve of the Manchu conquest, Elverskog reveals the distinctive political theory of decentralization that fostered the civil war among the Mongols. He explains how it was that the Manchu Great Enterprise was not to win over "Mongolia" but was instead to create a unified Mongol community of which the disparate preexisting communities would merely be component parts. A key element fostering this change was the Qing court’s promotion of Gelukpa orthodoxy, which not only transformed Mongol historical narratives and rituals but also displaced the earlier vernacular Mongolian Buddhism. Finally, Elverskog demonstrates how this eighteenth-century conception of a Mongol community, ruled by an aristocracy and nourished by a Buddhist emperor, gave way to a pan-Qing solidarity of all Buddhist peoples against Muslims and Christians and to local identities that united for the first time aristocrats with commoners in a new Mongol Buddhist identity on the eve of the twentieth century.
Poetry and Personhood among Young Afghans in Iran
The Pearl of Dari takes us into the heart of Afghan refugee life in the Islamic Republic of Iran through a rich ethnographic portrait of the circle of poets and intellectuals who make up the "Pearl of Dari" cultural organization. Dari is the name by which the Persian language is known in Afghanistan. Afghan immigrants in Iran, refugees from the Soviet war in Afghanistan, are marginalized and restricted to menial jobs and lower-income neighborhoods. Ambitious and creative refugee youth have taken to writing poetry to tell their story as a group and to improve their prospects for a better life. At the same time, they are altering the ancient tradition of Persian love poetry by promoting greater individualism in realms such as gender and marriage. Zuzanna Olszewska offers compelling insights into the social life of poetry in an urban, Middle Eastern setting largely unknown in the West.
A Study of Sinicization, 1583-1795
Making extensive use of Chinese, Japanese, Manchu, and Western sources, the author adopts a historical multifaceted approach to explore the various forces - geography, economics, frontier contacts, political and social institutions; language, literature and art; religion and Confucianism - that made possible the Manchu adoption of Chinese ways of life.
This intensively researched urban study dissects Russian Imperial and early Soviet rule in Islamic Central Asia from the diverse viewpoints of tsarist functionaries, Soviet bureaucrats, Russian workers, and lower-class women as well as Muslim notables and Central Asian traders. Jeff Sahadeo's stimulating analysis reveals how political, social, cultural, and demographic shifts altered the nature of this colonial community from the tsarist conquest of 1865 to 1923, when Bolshevik authorities subjected the region to strict Soviet rule. In addition to placing the building of empire in Tashkent within a broader European context, Sahadeo's account makes an important contribution to understanding the cultural impact of empire on Russia's periphery.
Space, People, Power, 1700-1930
Russian Empire offers new perspectives on the strategies of imperial rule pursued by rulers, officials, scholars, and subjects of the Russian empire. An international team of scholars explores the connections between Russia's expansion over vast territories occupied by people of many ethnicities, religions, and political experiences and the evolution of imperial administration and vision. The fresh research reflected in this innovative volume reveals the ways in which the realities of sustaining imperial power in a multiethnic, multiconfessional, scattered, and diffuse environment inspired political imaginaries and set limits on what the state could accomplish. Taken together, these rich essays provide important new frameworks for understanding Russia's imperial geography of power.
Anxiety, Violence, and the Making of Mongolian Identity
Sinophobia is a timely and groundbreaking study of the anti-Chinese sentiments currently widespread in Mongolia. Violent anti-Chinese feelings are frequently explained as a consequence of China’s meteoric economic development, a cause of much anxiety for her immediate neighbors and particularly for Mongolia, a large but sparsely populated country that is rich in mineral resources. Other analysts point to deeply entrenched antagonisms and to centuries of hostility between the two groups, implying unbridgeable cultural differences. Franck Billé challenges these reductive explanations. Through an in-depth analysis of media discourses, Billé shows how stereotypes of the Chinese emerged through an internalization of Russian ideas of Asia, and how they can easily extend to other Asian groups such as Koreans or Vietnamese. He argues that the anti-Chinese attitudes of Mongols reflect an essential desire to distance themselves from Asia overall and to reject their own Asianness. The spectral presence of China, imagined to be everywhere and potentially in everyone, thus produces a pervasive climate of mistrust, suspicion, and paranoia.
Tibetan Women on the Edge of History
Through a lyrical narrative of her journey to Tibet in 2007, activist Canyon Sam contemplates modern history from the perspective of Tibetan women. Traveling on China's new "Sky Train," she celebrates Tibetan New Year with the Lhasa family whom she'd befriended decades earlier and concludes an oral-history project with women elders.
As she uncovers stories of Tibetan women's courage, resourcefulness, and spiritual strength in the face of loss and hardship since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, and observes the changes wrought by the controversial new rail line in the futuristic "new Lhasa," Sam comes to embrace her own capacity for letting go, for faith, and for acceptance. Her glimpse of Tibet's past through the lens of the women - a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, and a child bride - affords her a unique perspective on the state of Tibetan culture today - in Tibet, in exile, and in the widening Tibetan diaspora.
Gracefully connecting the women's poignant histories to larger cultural, political, and spiritual themes, the author comes full circle, finding wisdom and wholeness even as she acknowledges Tibet's irreversible changes.
For more about the author, go to http://www.canyonsam.com/skytrain.html
Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan
Speaking Soviet with an Accent presents the first English-language study of Soviet culture clubs in Kyrgyzstan. These clubs profoundly influenced the future of Kyrgyz cultural identity and fostered the work of many artists, such as famed novelist Chingiz Aitmatov. Based on extensive oral history and archival research, Ali Igmen follows the rise of culture clubs beginning in the 1920s, when they were established to inculcate Soviet ideology and create a sedentary lifestyle among the historically nomadic Kyrgyz people. These “Red clubs” are fondly remembered by locals as one of the few places where lively activities and socialization with other members of their ail (village or tribal unit) could be found. Through lectures, readings, books, plays, concerts, operas, visual arts, and cultural Olympiads, locals were exposed to Soviet notions of modernization. But these programs also encouraged the creation of a newfound “Kyrgyzness” that preserved aspects of local traditions and celebrated the achievements of Kyrgyz citizens in the building of a new state. These ideals proved appealing to many Kyrgyz, who, for centuries, had seen riches and power in the hands of a few tribal chieftains and Russian imperialists. This book offers new insights into the formation of modern cultural identity in Central Asia. Here, like their imperial predecessors, the Soviets sought to extend their physical borders and political influence. But Igmen also reveals the remarkable agency of the Kyrgyz people, who employed available resources to meld their own heritage with Soviet and Russian ideologies and form artistic expressions that continue to influence Kyrgyzstan today.