UNESCO publishes history volume on Central Asia

The latest volume on the histories of the empires that rose and fell in the vast Central Asian region will be launched today in Paris, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said.The fifth and penultimate volume, called Development in Contrast: From the Sixteenth to the Mid-Nineteenth Century, covers the last medieval empires – the Uzbeks, Safavids, Mughals and Dzungars – and early colonialism. The territories covered also include Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern China and western India.”It describes the last phase of nomadism as a viable system of social organization; the effects on Central Asian economies of the shift of the main lines of international trade from the Great Silk Route to the oceanic routes; the various schools of art; the last great age of classical Persian literature and the growth of Turkic literatures,” UNESCO said in a news release.In the religious sphere, the 936-page volume also covers the Shi`ite ascendancy in Persia, the conversion of the Mongol peoples to Buddhism, and the rise of Sikhism, it said. The chief editors were Charyar Adle of Iran and Irfan Habib of India, with Karl Baipakov of Kazakhstan as co-editor.The launch was timed to take place during UNESCO’s 190-member General Conference, which ends on Friday.The sixth and last volume in the series, Towards Contemporary Civilization: from the mid-Nineteenth Century to the present time is due out in the next two years and will be edited by Olivier Roy of France, with Madhavan Palat of India and Anara Tabyshalieva of the Kyrgyz Republic as co-editors, UNESCO said.The series, which started with Central Asia at the dawn of time, is the work of 300 scholars, mainly from the area, it said.

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