Institut für Iranistik / Institute of Iranian Studies Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
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A short account on Yaghnobi society (Tajikistan)

ZAS-Seminar 8, Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Daniele Guizzo (University Ca' Foscari, Venice)
25.03.2011, 14:00
Seminarraum (Erdgeschoß), Zentrum Asienwissenschaften und Sozialanthropologie
Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Wien
Abstract. The valley of Yaghnob River is located in central Tajikistan, about 100 km North of Dushanbe. This valley is famous because of its inhabitants, speaking an Iranian variety quite similar to Sogdian language. For this fact Yaghnobi became a precious comparative tool for the diachronic study of the Eastern Middle Iranian Languages and its speakers were considered as an extraordinary ethnographic unicum, preserving old tradition and barely influenced by the Perso-Islamic culture.
Since 2007 Daniele Guizzo is a member of the Mission of Bologna University and Isiao headed by prof. Antonio Panaino that has been undertaking various field-works in Yaghnob Valley, Upper Zarafshon Valley and Zafarobod. Italian Mission’s main goal is providing a general survey of the present day Yaghnob from a linguistic and ethnographic viewpoint. In the meanwhile the Mission intended to investigate the archaeological past of the Valley and to verify its historical link with the neighbour zones. In fact, it has been the first multidisciplinary mission after the last Soviet expeditions in the ’70. In several field trips Dr. Guizzo has collected linguistic and ethnographic data through extensive interview with the locals.
In this talk Dr. Guizzo will point out some important features of contemporary Yaghnobi society, focusing on two aspects:

1) The invention of isolation: Yaghnob Valley, even if isolated from a geographical viewpoint, is linked to an economic and cultural network uniting the neighbour valleys.
2) The necessity of a neo-traditional society: the absence of the State and the lack of an internal organisation led Yaghnobis to the respect of the tradition as a kind of common law regulating the society.




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