Central Asia is hardly associated with the sea and with maritime issues, even though its physical geography contains two major maritime surfaces, namely the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea. This article looks into the position and role of these water surfaces and their respective littorals in the region's integration and social transformation in the tsarist empire. It explores whether they were part of a maritime consciousness and the notion of overseas vis-à-vis Central Asia, before looking into a number of developments and shifts, the outcomes or at least traces of which are still prevalent and visible today. More concretely, these include: the patterns of maritime accessibility over the Caspian and Aral Seas that came into being and functioned; the existence of seashore-shaped cultures and livelihoods; and the establishment of new territorialities which served as spaces for double-edged economic modernization, blueprints of modern national individualities, and a peculiar pattern of urban development.


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pp. 149-172
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