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Central Asia in Transition

Literature, Religion, and Society from the 11th to the 21st Century

Central Asia in Transition

Public Lecture Series

As territory that is located at the confluence of the Slavic, Turkic, Indo-Iranian, and Sino-Tibetan cultural spheres, Central Asia requires fluid and multifocal approaches for the study of its socio-anthropological, linguistic, literary, historical, and artistic specificities. Political paradigms are a vital tool for exploring a region that has experienced drastic sociocultural changes, especially after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But a close reading of Central Asia’s literary and religious mindscapes can contribute to a more dynamic portrait of the diachronic cultural trends that have shaped its human landscape. This series of lectures will offer several approaches to overarching and interdisciplinary paradigms capable of shedding a new light on the transitional characteristics of this region of the world. Topics include religious policies of the Mongol Empire, local reverberations of the Persianate literary system in the formation of Pamiri identity, and the magnificent ascent of first Buddhist then Islamic Balkh and its artistic syncretism.

2017–18 Series Schedule:

October 16, 2017
Rashīd al-Dīn in the Eye of the Beholder: Proposing a Holistic Approach to Reception History
Judith Pfeiffer, University of Bonn

November 20, 2017
Many Roads to Oxiana: Safavid and Mughal Poetry on Central Asian Campaigns
Sunil Sharma, Boston University

2016–17 Series Schedule:
October 31, 2016
Performing Pamiri Identity in Central Asia
Gabrielle van den Berg, Leiden University
Photo credit: Domenico Ingenito


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Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2016