On the Edge

Eastern Khurasan in the Perception of Qajar Officials

in Eurasian Studies
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Persian accounts of travels within Iran and to the neighboring Muslim countries served to shape and enhance official concepts of history and topography. Yet, opinions regarding the function of nineteenth-century travelogues within imperial agendas differ. Was their production driven by ideas of inclusion and reclamation or were they meant to project and cement boundaries? This article explores the ways in which Qajar envoys, military officers and officials portrayed the lands and people north and east of Astarabad and Mashhad. The texts at hand offer parallel formulations of the Iranian space. The projection of an expansive “Ur”-terrain coincides with the reinvention of Iran as a modern, narrowly bounded entity. These two levels of argumentation are analyzed within the framework of three thematic clusters. First, observations on geography and their connotations of inclusion and exclusion. Secondly, exchanges with local elites bring regional relationships into focus and thus document the problem of Iranian statehood, its self-definition and the political claims arising therefrom. The third field concerns the uses of the past.

On the Edge

Eastern Khurasan in the Perception of Qajar Officials

in Eurasian Studies

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References

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5

Noelle-Karimi ChristineThe pearl in its midst. Herat and the mapping of Khurasan 15th-19th Centuries (Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press2014): p. 294.

7

Najmabadi Afsaneh“The erotic vatan [homeland] as beloved and mother: To love, to possess and to protect”Comparative Studies in Society and Historyxxxix/3 (1997): pp. 449-50.

8

Gustafson James M.“Qajar ambitions in the Great Game: Notes on the embassy of ‘Abbas Qoli Khan to the Amir of Bokhara, 1844”IrStxlvi/4 (2013): p. 541.

11

Eden Jeff“A Persian captive’s guide to Khiva: Esmāʿil Mir-Panja’s satirical recollections”Journal of Persianate Studiesix/2 (2016): pp. 207-8.

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Green Nile“Among the dissenters: reciprocal ethnography in nineteenth-century Inglistan”Journal of Global Historyiv (2009): pp. 296-7.

30

Taqī ḪānNāsiḫ al-tawārīḫ: p. 679 fn 1; Bāmdād Mihdī Sharḥ-i ḥāl-i rijāl-i Īrān dar qarnhā-yi 12 va 13 va 14 (Tehran: Intishārāt-i Zauvār 1992): i p. 215.

31

Morrison Alexander“Twin imperial disasters. The invasions of Khiva and Afghanistan in the Russian and British official mind, 1839-1842”Modern Asian Studiesxlviii/1 (2014): pp. 253-300; Yapp Malcolm Strategies of British India. Britain Iran and Afghanistan 1798-1850 (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1980): pp. 389-91.

81

Amanat AbbasResurrection and renewal (Ithaca: Cornell University1989): pp. 385-404.

83

Amanat Abbas“Herat vi. The Herat question”EIr xii (2004): p. 224.

143

Fragner Bert G.Die Persophonie. Regionalität Identität und Sprachkontakt in der Geschichte Asiens (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch1999): p. 40.

149

Curzon George N.Persia and the Persian Question (London: Longmans, Green and Co.1892): ii p. 197; Krausse Alexis Russia in Asia (London: Grant Richards 1900): pp. 98 105-6 328.

153

Ibid. pp. 78-9 87 95.

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