For its citizens, contemporary Central Asia is a land of great promise and peril. While the end of Soviet rule has opened new opportunities for social mobility and cultural expression, political and economic dynamics have also imposed severe hardships. In this lively volume, contributors from a variety of disciplines examine how ordinary Central Asians lead their lives and navigate shifting historical and political trends. Provocative stories of Turkmen nomads, Afghan villagers, Kazakh scientists, Kyrgyz border guards, a Tajik strongman, guardians of religious shrines in Uzbekistan, and other narratives illuminate important issues of gender, religion, power, culture, and wealth. A vibrant and dynamic world of life in urban neighborhoods and small villages, at weddings and celebrations, at classroom tables, and around dinner tables emerges from this introduction to a geopolitically strategic and culturally fascinating region.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Number of pages: 424
Weight: 37 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
[A]n excellent and compelling collection of essays . . . . [T]his book is a valuable addition to our understanding of not only a region heavily influenced by the Russian/Soviet colonial legacy, but also of the ways in which the everyday confronts often competing notions of identity. Vol. 9.3 Winter 2008 -- Robert O. Krikorian * George Washington University *
[This] book . . . offers to the curious reader a better understanding of Central Asian people, their histories, and everyday lives-a diversity of people who otherwise may have been conceptualized as a grey and anonymous mass, or, worse yet, as mere numbers.October 2008 -- Irene Hilgers * H-Soyuz *
This rich volume should . . . be commended for its comprehensible style making it accessible to nonspecialists in Central Asian societies and to virtually anyone interested in the region. * Ab Imperio *
Sahadeo and Zanca have collected a large range of essays written in a clear and accessible style well suited as a textbook for undergraduate teaching or anyone interested in learning about the region. * Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute *
Part of a series of books on everyday life in various parts of the world, this volume offers essays on the different ways that Central Asians lead their daily lives and navigate shifting historical, political, and economic trends in past and present times. . . . Many of the selections concern the difficult transitions from Soviet rule to independent statehood, restrictions on political and social activity, widening gaps between the rich and the poor, and new opportunities for social mobility and cultural expression. The essays on the varying beliefs and practices of Muslims across this wide region are especially informative. The volume contains illustrations and a listing of the contributors' backgrounds and qualifications. . . . Recommended. * Choice *
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