Cultural Histories of Central Asia

Edited by Rashmi Doraiswamy, Aakar Books, 2009, 270 p, ISBN : 8189833763, $33.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Introduction/Rashmi Doraiswamy. I. The Arts: i. Architecture: 1. Central Asia Architecture: The persistence of pre-modernism/Romi Khosla. 2. Sufi remains. A Kazakh story of today/Kalpana Sahni. 3. Synthesis in the sky/K. T. Ravindran. ii. Music: 4. The fate of the Shashmaqom in Uzbekistan in the twentieth century/Dilorom Karomat. iii. Visual arts: 5. The syncretic nature of early Central Asian Art/Radha Banerjee. 6. Traveling cultures/Gulammohammed Sheikh. iv. Literature: 7. Ramayana and Alpomysh: Two epics, two heroes/Qamar Rais. 8. Manas: The socio-cultural heritage of the Kyrgyz People/Neelima Singh. 9. Literature in the Khanate of Bukhara in the nineteenth century/Saifullah Saifi. 10. Abai: A prophet of renaissance, a bard of enlightenment/Abhai Maurya. v. Cinema: 11. The encounter of modernities: Cinematic adaptations of two stories by Aitmatov/Rashmi Doraiswamy. II. New Horizons: vi. Thinkers, travelers, explorers: 12. Remembering Al Farabi/Devendra Kaushik. 13. Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943): The expeditions and the collections/Arup Banerjee. 14. Kyrgyzstan in history: Accounts of Russians scientists and travelers/Ruby Roy. vii. Traversing the Silk Road: 15. Shifting frames: Cultural crossroads of the past and present/Rajeev Sethi. 16. The Silk Road re-visited/Rta Kapur Chisti. 17. Reviving the silk route: problems and prospects/Meena Singh Roy. Notes on contributors.

"Central Asia, the 'heart' of the Eurasian landmass, has through the centuries been the hub of diverse and varied cultures. These cultures have encompassed pre-Islamic religions and Islam, sedentary and nomadic lifestyles and lived through rapid transitions from feudal, capitalist and socialist economies, from Tsarist to Soviet and post-Soviet formations. The essays in this volume examine the cultural exchanges and encounters that have occurred in the region through a vast timeline that extends from the premedieval to the medieval and modern periods. The writers are academics, as well as art practitioners and independent researchers who belong to a wide spectrum of disciplines: Central Asian and Russian Studies, architecture, ethno-musicology, history, painting, film studies, art history, textiles, literature and international relations. The volume presents a colourful mosaic of views on the many cultural histories of Central Asia." (jacket)

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