Islamic Central Asia

Islamic Central Asia

An Anthology of Historical Sources
Scott Levi and Ron Sela
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/23/2009
Format: Paperback 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-22140-7
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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.

Author Bio

Scott C. Levi is Associate Professor of Central Asian History at The Ohio State University. He is author of The Indian Diaspora in Central Asia and Its Trade, 1550–1900 and editor of India and Central Asia: Commerce and Culture, 1500–1800.

Ron Sela is Assistant Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of The Legendary Biographies of Tamerlane: Islam and Heroic Apocrypha in Central Asia.


“Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources is a needed resource for students of Central Asia and should find a large audience. The selection of previously translated materials is well thought out, the introductions to each section and each selection are elegant and erudite, and the more than twenty new translations are particularly welcome. The co-editors are to be warmly commended for making such a rich compendium available.”
 — Robert D. McChesney, New York University

“Levi and Sela's well-chosen and vividly translated collection takes pedagogy on Central Eurasia beyond philology to history, making a wealth of sources available to students for the first time. They have thrown open the iron gates of Islamic Central Asia to hordes of new readers.”
 — James A. Millward, Georgetown University

“Situated at the heart of the so-called Silk Road, the peoples of Central Asia witnessed numerous invasions, migrations, and exchanges of religions and cultures, goods and technologies. Central Asia has been exoticized in the West—and in the East—and has captivated the imagination of many. While emphasizing some of the remarkable aspects of Central Asian history, this anthology also examines daily lives in periods of great achievements and important transformations as well as times of crisis, strife and isolation.”
 — from the introduction

“A much-needed, long overdue and impressive anthology of translations from sources by and about Muslim Central Asians. The editors have chosen well, providing access to many materials not previously available in English and covering the region in depth. This volume will be required reading for courses on Central Asia.”
 — Peter B. Golden, Rutgers University

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Table of Contents

Note on Translation and Transliteration
Part 1. Central Asia in the Early Islamic Period, Seventh<N>Tenth Centuries
A. Central Asia and the Arab Conquests
B. Central Asia under the Samanids
C. The Age of Learning
Part 2. Encounter with the Turks
A. Turkic Peoples of the Steppe
B. Qarakhanids: The First Turkic Muslim State in Central Asia
C. Central Asia in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
Part 3. The Mongol Empire
A. Temujin and the Rise of the Mongol Empire
Part 4. Timur and the Timurids
A. Timur's Rise and Rule
B. Central Asia in the Fifteenth Century
Part 5. Central Asia in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
A. The Shïbanids and Central Asian Society in the Sixteenth Century
B. Central Asia in the Seventeenth Century
Part 6. Central Asia in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
A. The Age of Transition
B. The Uzbek Tribal Dynasties
C. The "Great Game" to Russian Rule

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