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Isolation or Integration? Locating Central Asia in the Early Modern World
Scholarship has largely moved beyond the notion that early modern European maritime traders usurped Central Asia’s historical role in the overland “Silk Road” trade. But this does not change the fact that, in the first half of the 18th century, the Bukharan Khanate experienced a crisis that included devastating invasions from the north and the south, a severe fiscal downturn, decentralization, rebellion and revolution. Setting aside the long-held belief that this crisis was caused by isolation from early modern globalizing trends, we will explore a new set of theories to explain what caused the crisis, why it unfolded when it did, and how globalizing forces shaped early modern Central Asian states and societies.
Scott Levi is Associate Professor of Central Asian History at Ohio State University. His work on the social and economic history of early modern Central Asia aims to place the region in a broader, world historical context. He has published a number of books, the most recent of which is The Rise and Fall of Khoqand, 1709–1876: Central Asia in the Global Age (Pittsburgh, 2017). He is currently finishing another book project, “Early Modern Connections: Global Integration and the 18th-Century Bukharan Crisis.”