Transregional Perspectives on Development Cooperation, Social Mobility and Cultural Change
African-Asian interactions contribute to the emergence of a decentred, multi-polar world in which different actors need to redefine themselves and their relations to each other. Afrasian Transformations explores these changes to map out several arenas where these transformations have already produced startling results: development politics, South-South cooperation, cultural memory, mobile lifeworlds and transcultural connectivity. The contributions in this volume neither celebrate these shifting dynamics as felicitous proof of a new age of South-South solidarity, nor do they debunk them as yet another instance of burgeoning geopolitical hegemony. Instead, they seek to come to terms with the ambivalences, contradictions and potential benefits entailed in these transformations – that are also altering our understanding of (trans)area in an increasingly globalized world.

Contributors include: Seifudein Adem, Nafeesah Allen, Hanna Getachew Amare, Tom De Bruyn, Casper Hendrik Claassen, Astrid Erll, John Njenga Karugia, Guive Khan-Mohammad, Vinay Lal, Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Jamie Monson, Diderot Nguepjouo, Satwinder Rehal, Ute Röschenthaler, Alexandra Samokhvalova, and Sophia Thubauville.
The Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law aims to publish peer-reviewed scholarly articles and reviews as well as significant developments in human rights and humanitarian law. It examines international human rights and humanitarian law with a global reach, though its particular focus is on the Asian region.

The focused theme of Volume 4 is India and Human Rights.
Author: Roel Sterckx

Abstract

This paper questions the conventional scholarly view that early Chinese economic thought simply conceived of farming and commerce as mutually opposing forces. It argues that during Western Han times there existed a significant distance between court rhetoric and economic reality and suggests that, in reading official discourse, one should be cautious not to emphasize the economic over the political. The paper re-examines a series of well-known court memorials and concludes that few questioned the ethics of how wealth should be generated as long as political control could be maintained and the Han court was on the receiving end of it.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Abstract

This article takes the understudied Ottoman city of Gaza in southern Palestine at the end of the nineteenth century as a case study to illustrate the new possibilities available today to researchers of the Middle East by combining the study of historical sources with GIS and other digital technologies. It first surveys the main sources available for the study of this city, some of which have only become available to researchers in recent years. It then describes the construction of a comprehensive database based on these sources and ways to run statistical analyses based on it. Finally, it presents the research results on maps and aerial photos connected to a GIS system. The case of Gaza can thus serve as a model for studying other cities in Ottoman Greater Syria and the Ottoman Empire in general.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author: Tawni Tidwell

Abstract

Collaborative research on Tibetan medicine for conditions difficult to treat by Euroamerican biomedicine, such as many intractable types of cancer, has developed in recent years due to treatment outcomes and growing patient interest. In these collaborations, more nuanced analyses of how one medical tradition’s etiology maps onto the other are required for productive dialogue and sophisticated research methodologies. Building on earlier work that provides the initial etiologic and diagnostic mapping of biomedical cancer onto Tibetan medical nosology, this article develops a further analytical dimension by describing the specific etiologic role of blood (Tib. khrag) and chuser (Tib. chu ser), as well as their specific ontological characterizations in Sowa Rigpa more generally. The Four Treatises and its commentaries elucidate a unique perspective on these substances as implemented in clinical praxis. This analysis furthers work to disentangle contemporary Tibetan medical and biomedical paradigms by highlighting therapeutic and investigative distinctions for cancer and research collaborations more broadly.

In: Asian Medicine
Author: Neelam Khoja

Abstract

Ahmad Shah Abdali-Durrani’s court chronicle, Taʾrīkh-i Aḥmad Shāhī, written by Mahmud bin Ibrahim al-Husaini and completed soon after Ahmad Shah’s death in 1772, provides an eighteenth-century perspective on the criterion for kingship and sovereignty. Unsurprisingly, the only person who fulfills these requirements, according to the historian, is Ahmad Shah. While this is standard practice in most Persianate and Islamic histories about a king, the text deviates from a number of other literary conventions. The historian deemphasizes Ahmad Shah’s genealogy and connection to Sufi saints; instead, he focuses on Ahmad Shah’s inner piety and morality by attributing to him the concept of ilhām (direct revelation from God)—an attribute more generally characteristic of prophets and saints, not kings. The double move of deemphasizing lineage and Sufi connection while privileging personal, God-bestowed attributes is sharpened through comparison: Mughal governors and emperors are depicted by the author as descendants of noble, dynastic genealogies, but govern incompetently because they do not have the clarity of vision and fate of victory on their side, as God has not bestowed them with ilhām.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Abstract

The existing historiography on liaisons between Russia and Central Asia in early modern period often tends to portray the cross-cultural diplomacy between the settings as an assemblage of sporadic, inefficient, clumsy encounters, full of diplomatic failures. Further to it, the dominant paradigm emphasizes cultural differences in the region, whereby any form of cross-cultural encounters was inevitably hampered by various confessional, religious and social borders. As a result, we tend to read every case of cross-cultural encounter between early modern Central Asia and Russia as a metaphor of cultural incommensurability. In the essay, I shall offer a close reading of two 17th-century Muscovite diplomatic missions to Central Asia as test cases with which to make sense of cultural encounters through the lens of individual actors. In doing so, I shall highlight the specific practices and strategies that allowed the diplomatic actors to play key roles as cultural mediators using their language skills, local knowledge and contact networks. In the broader sense, the essay set out to examine how can we problematize cross-cultural encounters between Central Asian principalities such as Khiva and Bukhara on the one hand, and Pre-Petrine Russia on the other: and to consider what we actually mean when we speak of early modern diplomacy in Central Eurasia.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Abstract

A mosaic discovered in luxurious Roman domus in Lod (Lydda, Diospolis) in Israel, depicted among other maritime creatures Royal Purple yielding mollusks and wicker traps used to catch them. Historical sources indicating that during Late Antiquity residents of Lod dealt in dyeing and exporting textiles (also Royal Purple) were reexamined. Clearly many city inhabitants were involved with textiles, and some of them had their hands permanently dyed. The mosaic hints that the mollusks contributed to their wealth. The problem of inland dyeing with Royal Purple was discussed, as well as the continuation of this industry in the area into the Islamic period.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient