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Warrior Saints of the Silk Road

Legends of the Qarakhanids

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Jeff Eden

For generations, Central Asian Muslims have told legends of medieval rulers who waged war, died in battle, and achieved sainthood. Among the Uyghurs of East Turkistan (present-day Xinjiang, China), some of the most beloved legends tell of the warrior-saint Satuq Bughra Khan and his descendants, the rulers of the Qarakhanid dynasty. To this day, these tales are recited at the saints' shrines and retold on any occasion.
Warrior Saints of the Silk Road introduces this rich literary tradition, presenting the first complete English translation of the Qarakhanid narrative cycle along with an accessible commentary. At once mesmerizing, moving, and disturbing, these legends are essential texts in Central Asia's religious heritage as well as fine, enduring works of mystical literature.

Sufism in Central Asia

New Perspectives on Sufi Traditions, 15th-21st Centuries

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Edited by Devin DeWeese and Jo-Ann Gross

Sufism in Central Asia: New Perspectives on Sufi Traditions, 15th-21st Centuries brings together ten original studies on historical aspects of Sufism in this region. A central question, of ongoing significance, underlies each contribution: what is the relationship between Sufism as it was manifested in this region prior to the Russian conquest and the Soviet era, on the one hand, and the features of Islamic religious life in the region during the Tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras on the other? The authors address multiple aspects of Central Asian religious life rooted in Sufism, examining interpretative strategies, realignments in Sufi communities and sources from the Russian to the post-Soviet period, and social, political and economic perspectives on Sufi communities.
Contributors include: Shahzad Bashir, Devin DeWeese, Allen Frank, Jo-Ann Gross, Kawahara Yayoi, Robert McChesney, Ashirbek Muminov, Maria Subtelny, Eren Tasar, and Waleed Ziad.

Shahnama Studies III

The Reception of the Shahnama

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Edited by Gabrielle R. van den Berg and Charles Melville

Shahnama Studies III focuses on the hugely successful afterlife of the Shahnama or Book of Kings, completed by the poet Firdausi around 1010 AD. This long epic grew out to be an icon of Persian culture and served as a source of inspiration for art and literature, leaving its traces in manifold ways. The contributors to this volume each treat an aspect of the rich legacy of the Shahnama and offer new insights in Shahnama manuscript studies, the illustration of the Shahnama, the phenomenon of later epics, and the Shahnama in later texts and contexts.

The Mongols' Middle East

Continuity and Transformation in Ilkhanid Iran

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Edited by Bruno De Nicola and Charles Melville

The Mongols’ Middle East: Continuity and Transformation in Ilkhanid Iran offers a collection of academic articles that investigate different aspects of Mongol rule in 13th- and 14th-century Iran. Sometimes treated only as part of the larger Mongol Empire, the volume focuses on the Ilkhanate (1258-1335) with particular reference to its relations with its immediate neighbours. It is divided into four parts, looking at the establishment, the internal and external dynamics of the realm, and its end. The different chapters, covering several topics that have received little attention before, aim to contribute to a better understanding of Mongol rule in the Middle East and its role in the broader medieval Eurasian world and its links with China.

With contributions by: Reuven Amitai, Michal Biran, Bayarsaikhan Dashdondog, Bruno De Nicola, Florence Hodous, Boris James, Aptin Khanbaghi, Judith Kolbas, George Lane, Timothy May, Charles Melville, Esther Ravalde, Karin Rührdanz

The Kazakh Khanates between the Russian and Qing Empires

Central Eurasian International Relations during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

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Jin Noda

In The Kazakh Khanates between the Russian and Qing Empires, Jin Noda examines the foreign relations of the Kazakh Chinggisid sultans and the Russian and Qing empires during the 18th and 19th centuries. Noda makes use of both Russian and Qing archival documents as well as local Islamic sources. Through analysis of each party’s claims –mainly reflected in the Russian-Qing negotiations regarding Central Eurasia–, the book describes the role played by the Kazakh nomads in tying together the three regions of eastern Kazakh steppe, Western Siberia, and Xinjiang.

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Edited by Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund

In Muslim Tatar Minorities in the Baltic Sea Region, edited by Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund, the contributors introduce the history and contemporary situation of these little known groups of people that for centuries have been part of the religious and ethnic mosaic of this region. The book has a broad and multi-disciplinary scope and covers the early settlements in Lithuania and Poland, the later immigrations to Saint Petersburg, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, as well as the most recent establishments in Sweden and Germany. The authors, who hail from and are specialists on these areas, demonstrate that in several respects the Tatar Muslims have become well-integrated here.

Contributors are: Toomas Abiline, Tamara Bairasauskaite, Renat Bekkin, Sebastian Cwiklinski, Harry Halén, Tuomas Martikainen, Agata Nalborczyk, Egdunas Racius, Ringo Ringvee, Valters Scerbinskis, Sabira Ståhlberg, Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund.

The Mughal Padshah

A Jesuit Treatise on Emperor Jahangir’s Court and Household

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Jorge Flores

In The Mughal Padshah Jorge Flores offers both a lucid English translation and the Portuguese original of a previously unknown account of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). Probably penned by the Jesuit priest Jerónimo Xavier in 1610-11, the Treatise of the Court and Household of Jahangir Padshah King of the Mughals reads quite differently than the usual missionary report. Surviving in four different versions, this text reveals intriguing insights on Jahangir and his family, the Mughal court and its political rituals, as well as the imperial elite and its military and economic strength. A comprehensive introduction situates the Treatise in the ‘disputed’ landscape of European accounts on Mughal India, as well as illuminates the actual conditions of production and readership of such a text between South Asia and the Iberian Peninsula.

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

State and Identity in Post-Mongol Central Eurasia

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Joo-Yup Lee

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.

Managing Invisibility

Dissimulation and Identity Maintenance among Alevi Bulgarian Turks

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Hande Sözer

In Managing Invisibility, Hande Sözer examines complicated invisibilities of Alevi Bulgarian Turks, a double-minority which faces structural discrimination in Bulgaria and Turkey. While the literature portrays minorities’ visibility as a requirement for their empowerment or a source of their surveillance, the book argues that for such minorities what matters is their control over their own visibility. To make this point, it focuses on the concept protective dissimulation, a strategy of self-imposed invisibility. It discusses cases indicating Alevi Bulgarian Turks’ strategies of dealing with historically changing majorities in their larger societies and argues that dissimulation actually reinforces the intergroup distinctions for the minority’s members. The data for the book was gathered during 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Bulgaria and Turkey.

Identity, Nationalism, and Cultural Heritage under Siege

Five Narratives of Pomak Heritage — From Forced Renaming to Weddings

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Fatme Myuhtar-May

In Identity, Nationalism, and Cultural Heritage under Siege, Fatme Myuhtar-May makes a case for the recognition of Pomak heritage by presenting five stories from the past and present of the Rhodope Muslims in Bulgaria as examples of a distinct Pomak culture. The stories range from the Christianisation during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 and the forced communist renaming of the Pomaks in the 1970s, to their fascinating wedding rituals and historic figures. Each of the five narratives contains its own storyline and serves as a prominent example of Pomak heritage, from the author’s perspective. The stories take place in the context of fervent nationalism and the ongoing censorship of Pomakness based on the claim that it is an “ethnic Bulgarian,” not “Pomak” heritage.