Qazaqlïq, or Ambitious Brigandage, and the Formation of the Qazaqs

State and Identity in Post-Mongol Central Eurasia


In Qazaqlïq, or Ambitious Brigandage, and the Formation of the Qazaqs Joo-Yup Lee examines the formation of new group identities, with a focus on the Qazaqs, in post-Mongol Central Eurasia within the context of qazaqlïq, or the qazaq way of life, a custom of political vagabondage widespread among the Turko-Mongolian peoples of Central Asia and the Qipchaq Steppe during the post-Mongol period.

Utilizing a broad range of original sources, the book suggests that the Qazaqs, as well as the Shibanid Uzbeks and Ukrainian Cossacks, came into existence as a result of the qazaq, or “ambitious brigand,” activities of their founders, providing a new paradigm for understanding state formation and identity in post-Mongol Central Eurasia.

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Joo-Yup Lee, Ph.D. (2012) in Turko-Persian Studies, University of Toronto, is an independent scholar publishing and working on state formation and identity in post-Mongol Central Eurasia. He has lectured on the steppe frontier in Perso-Islamic and Eurasian history at the University of Toronto.
2017 CESS Book Award Winner

"The author has done a great service for historians of the Kazakhs, particularly those hoping
to introduce monolingual students to the rich sources for medieval Eastern Europe and Central
Asia. Those wishing to follow along with Lee’s analysis more closely are welcomed to do so by
the inclusion of two appendices marking the appearance and context of the terms qazaqlïq and
qazaq in medieval (Appendix 1) and modern sources (Appendix 2). The book also includes
several maps, though they are difficult to read as they contain only river courses, ethnic
labels, and the occasional city. Comprising the annotated bibliography in the introduction, a
bibliography, an index and two helpful family trees, the scholarly apparatus should be useful
to a wide array of scholars even tangentially interested in the field of Kazakh history."

Michael Hancock-Parmer, Indiana University Bloomington, USA, in Central Asian Review, 2016

Students and historians of Central Eurasia, and all interested in the Islamic history of Asia, Kazakh and Uzbek history, the Mongol empire, Cossackdom, ethnogenesis, state formation, and Perso-Islamic and steppe historiography.
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