Kurbon Alamshoev travelled a long distance from the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast to Dushanbe, a fifteen-hour car ride, all to see a book. “I was very excited to read news about the University of Central Asia’s book launch, and to see in the listed books, a new edition of Tajiks of Huf Valley by a famous orientalist Mikhail Andreev. This book has long been regarded as a library rarity, and many of us feared it might soon disappear altogether,” said Alamshoev. “As a journalist and researcher, who has been studying Andreev's archives for years, I can appreciate the immense amount of work it took to republish this book. It demonstrates a great commitment by UCA in the restoration of valuable ethnographic materials.”
On 29 February 2020, the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit (CHHU) held a book launch, presenting three new releases in its Cultural Heritage Book Series. It was held at the Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), and gathered over 200 attendees from the academic community, international organisations, as well as state officials.
In addition to the Tajiks of Huf Valley book by a famous orientalist, Mikhail Andreev, the event introduced two more books including Andrei Evlampievich Madji: Half a Century of Scientific Research in Central Asia written by Victor Dubovitskii, and Architectural Odyssey: ‘Safarnama’ of Nasir Khusraw, written by Munavar Mamadnazarov.
“Central Asian countries have a rich history that should be studied, and it is important for great scholars to share their heritage with the next generation,” said Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, Dean of UCA’s Graduate School of Development. “For several years, UCA has been collaborating with the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Science of the Republic of Tajikistan, and this partnership has proven to be successful. The Academy's archives contain a treasure of materials, which, with help of modern technologies and digitalisation, can be preserved and presented to the world. The significance of examining and publishing these materials cannot be overstated.”
Dr. Krawchenko also noted that last year, CHHU launched a series of Research Papers with the intent of turning it into a full scientific magazine, which can be used by regional scholars as a platform to access a larger audience. The research papers are available for free download from UCA’s website: https://ucentralasia.org/Research/ResearchPapers/EN.
According to Dr. Elmira Kuchumkulova, Head of UCA’s CHHU, the Cultural Heritage Books Series is aimed at contributing to the preservation and popularisation of the rich and diverse history and culture of people in Central Asia. Over the past 12 years, a total of 20 books have been developed and published by UCA, presenting research results on architectural and archeological monuments, traditions, music, and the spoken art of people in Pamir and Tien-Shan.
About the books
The Tajiks of Khuf Valley, by Mikhail Stepanovich Andreev (1873-1948), a renown ethnographer, orientalist and scholar of Central Asian culture. This is practically the only available ethnographic research on the everyday life and culture of Tajiks from the upper streams of the Amu-Darya River. It remains a relevant source of anthropological data on the lifestyle of sedentary peoples in Central Asia.
Andrei Evlampievich Madji: Half a Century of Scientific Research in Central Asia, is written by Victor Dubovitskii, historian, publicist and writer. The book covers the life and work of Andrei Madji, an orientalist who made a great contribution to world science. This bibliographic work contains unique archival documents, and previously unknown works of the scientist, reflecting the most important events of Russia, and Central Asia. The valuable materials featured in the book may be interesting for scientists, researchers, and people interested in the development of science and the history of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Architectural Odyssey. ‘Safarnama’ of Nasir Khusraw, was written by Munavar Mamadnazarov, and introduces the reader to medieval Islamic architecture. The author draws on medieval written sources, studies and the book “Safarnama” (Travel Book) by Nasir Khusraw (Persian-Tajik poet, philosopher, traveler and preacher who lived in the 11th century). The book features religious shrines of the Islamic East, buildings of ancient Egypt, Rome and Byzantine, Badakhshan's architectural environment, more than 300 photographs, pictures and drawings, allowing the reader to make an exciting and insightful journey into the past. The book is intended for architects, art historians, orientalists, ethnographers, as well as people interested in Islamic culture.
This article was originally published on the University of Central Asia’s website.