Institut für Iranistik / Institute of Iranian Studies Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
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On Khorezmian Connectivity: Space, Mobility, Imagination
International Workshop
Under the auspices of the START project “Seeing like an Archive: Documents and Forms of Governance in Islamic Central Asia” (FWF / Y704-G18)
Conveners: Paolo Sartori and Christine Nölle-Karimi

Seminarraum 2 (Parterre), Institut für Iranistik
Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Wien


The study of the modern history of Central Asia has been the casualty of both Cold-War historiography and the rise of area studies. Thus the region is more often than not mapped in the margins of connected histories and global affairs. The oasis of Khorezm, in particular, is an exemplary case of such marginality. The Qizil Qum and Qara Qum deserts have long been portrayed as a barrier that divide the Qazaq steppe and Khorasan from Central Asia proper and isolates Khorezm from its southern and northern neighbors. Though the economic and cultural marginalization of Khorezm has been less questioned than predicated upon, little has been done to situate the region within larger historical narratives and reconnect it to the surrounding world. Material from Khiva, Bukhara and Tashkent suggests that regional mobility and outside connections were not subsidiary but constitutive of the local, and local patterns of production and trans-regional commerce were aspects of the same system. Infrastructures at the edges of steppe and desert areas point to an intra-regional economy embedded within a trans-Khorezmian commercial network; Islam, multilingualism, forms of communal and doctrinal organization bound Khorezm to the Perso-Islamicate world as well as to the neighboring empires. This event is designed to bring into conversation various experiences of research on the history of Khorezm and to explore the idea of regional and trans-regional connectivity. Speakers will be invited to investigate the link between local cultural practices and wider patterns of exchange which integrate Khorezm to Central Asia and beyond.



  • Ulfat Abdurasulov (Institute of Iranian Studies, Vienna)
  • Bakhtiyar Babajanov (Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent)
  • Al’frid Bustanov (European University, St. Petersburg)
  • Devin DeWeese (Indiana University, Bloomington)
  • Jeffrey Eden (Harvard University)
  • Christine Nölle-Karimi (Institute of Iranian Studies, Vienna)
  • Paolo Sartori (Institute of Iranian Studies, Vienna)
  • Akifumi Shioya (University of Tsukuba, Tokyo)
  • Elena Smolarz (University of Bonn)
  • William Wood (Point Loma Nazarene University)













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