Paolo Sartori

+43 1 51581-6516



Paolo Sartori holds an MA from the University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari” in Oriental Languages and Literatures (1998) and a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies (History and Philology) from the University of Rome “la Sapienza” (2006). From 2007 to 2011 he has been a Volkswagen Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Martin-Luther University in Halle/Wittenberg. Since 2011 he is Fellow of the Institute of Iranian Studies. In 2013 he was awarded the Start Prize by the Austrian Science Fund for his six-year project “Seeing like an Archive: Documents and Forms of Governance in Islamic Central Asia”. In 2014 he won the Best Publication Award at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2016 he was elected member of the Austrian Young Academy. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (Brill) and co-editor of the Handbook of Oriental Studies Series on Central Asia (Brill).


Detailed Biography

Main Areas of Research

Main Areas of Research

  • Epistemologies of writing, documentation, and archives in the Persianate world (15th-19th Centuries)
  • Locality and remoteness in modern Central Asia (18th-21st Centuries)
  • Islamic law in imperial Russia
  • Soviet Islam

Current Projects

Selected Publications

Selected Publications


  • Seeking Justice at the Court of the Khans of Khiva (19th-Early 20th Centuries) (Leiden: Brill, 2020): [co-authored with Ulfat Abdurasulov]
  • Éksperimenty imperii: adat, shariat, i proizvodtsvo znanii v Kazakhskoi stepi (Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2019): [co-authored with Pavel Shabley]
  • Visions of Justice: Sharīʿa and Cultural Change in Russian Central Asia (Leiden: Brill [HdO8 Series], 2016), pp. 415



  • “From Demotic to the Literary: The Ascendance of the Vernacular Turkic in Central Asia (18th - 19th Centuries),” Eurasian Studies XVIII/2 (2020): pp. 213-254
  • “Between Kazan and Kashghar: On the Vernacularization of Islamic Jurisprudence in Eurasia”, Die Welt des Islams Vol. 60.3 (2020): 1-31
  • “A Sound of Silence in the Archives: On 18th-Century Russian Diplomacy and the Historical Episteme of Central Asian Hostility,” Itinerario: Journal of Imperial and Global Interactions Vol. 44.3 (2020): 1-20
  • “The World as Seen from the Mufiate’s Windows [Book Forum on Eren Tasar’s Soviet and Muslim],” Central Asian Affairs 7/4 (2020): 357-367
  • “The Sovereign’s Brigands: Reflections on Forms of Governance in Central Asian History,” Comparatives Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 40/3 (2020): 478-482
  • “From the Archetypical Archive to Cultures of Documentation,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 62/5-6 (2019): 773-798 (co-authored with James Pickett)
  • “Of Saints, Shrines, and Tractors: Untangling the Meaning of Islam in Soviet Central Asia,” Journal of Islamic Studies 30/3 (2019): 1-40


Full List of Publications