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Recent monographs on the social history of Central Asia

Jrgen Paula a Institute for Oriental Studies, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale, Germany Online publication date: 28 May 2010

To cite this Article Paul, Jrgen(2010) 'Recent monographs on the social history of Central Asia', Central Asian Survey, 29:

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Central Asian Survey Vol. 29, No. 1, March 2010, 119 130

REVIEW ESSAY Recent monographs on the social history of Central Asia

rgen Paul Ju
Institute for Oriental Studies, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale, Germany

Community matters in Xinjiang 1880 1949. Towards a historical anthropology of the Belle r-Hann, Leiden, Brill, 2008, xv + 476 pp., US$171 (hardback), ISBN Uyghur, by Ildiko 978 9004166752. Two maps, illustrations, index and glossary.
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Pre-Tsarist and Tsarist Central Asia. Communal commitment and political order in change, by Paul Georg Geiss, London, Routledge, 2003, xvi + 320 pp., US$158.75 (hardback), ISBN 978 0415311779. Maps, index and glossary. Russian rule in Samarkand 1868 1910. A comparison with British India, by Alexander S. Morrison, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008, xxx + 364 pp., US$120 (hardback), ISBN 978 0199547371. Three maps, illustrations, tables, index and glossary. Russian colonial society in Tashkent, 1865 1923, by Jeff Sahadeo, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2007, xii + 317 pp., US$45 (hardback), ISBN 978 0253348203. One map, illustrations, glossary and index. qs from the Khanate of Khiva, by William Wood, Bloomington, A collection of Tarkhan yarl Indiana University Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, 2005, 55 pp., US$5.50 (paperback), ISSN 0893-1860. Nine pages of facsimile reproductions. The books under review are all contributions to the social history of pre-colonial and colonial Central Asia, but they cannot easily be compared. Their source basis and their approaches are quite different, and so is their regional and partly temporal focus, from the eighteenth until the middle of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, a number of questions emerge, subjects about which all or most of them have something to say, among them the creation of a colonial society, the boundaries that typically go with such a society, and also the ways borders were crossed; landholding patterns and in general the way the colonizers tried to get something out of the colony; and the question of how we can make progress in understanding the social history of colonial Central Asia. The article will address these questions in turn, but will also make comments on the individual books. The contribution by William Wood stands out quite clearly. It is not a study so much as a publication of a number of documents, in facsimile together with an edition and a translation into English. The documents stem from the eighteenth century which is an additional reason to publish them since so few sources for this period are available, and they all concern one family of saiyids who enjoyed tarkhan status, that is, a number of scal and legal privileges. Six of the documents are in Turki, the last two in Persian; this cannot be easily explained. It is known that the Khivan chancery conducted its work in Turki.


ISSN 0263-4937 print/ISSN 1465-3354 online # 2010 Central Asian Survey DOI: 10.1080/02634931003768765

120 J. Paul The editorial part is awless as far as I can see, and it is good to see the announcement that more documents out of this particular collection will be published in the hopefully not too distant future.1 We should not forget that there is a wealth of literary as well as documentary sources for the history of Central Asia of the period from c.1600 until Soviet times which are not yet well known, and new sources are discovered practically every year. Thus, for quite a while, the publication and the processing of sources will remain a major task for researchers within the region and worldwide. The most remarkable part of the commentary is a list of legal and scal terms used in the documents. Because of the well-known particularities of Khwa razm, the parallel uses of these terms, if any, in Bukharan and other documents are not always illuminating. Therefore, Woods explanations are sometimes tentative, and it is laudable indeed that he does not hide his doubts and incertainties. The publication in general is one of the many stones needed to build a new understanding of the administrative structure of the Khanates in the pre-colonial period. For this, painstaking scrutiny of the available documentary evidence is necessary: otherwise, we will not get out of the polemics surrounding such texts as the Majmac al-arqa m, the eighteenth-century handbook of administrative terms2, and will by necessity continue to rely on colonial texts such as Semenov3 or the reports of colonial ofcers trying to understand administrative routines they encountered on the ground. Some of these routines are very nicely illustrated in Morrisons work. The work by Paul Georg Geiss in many ways follows an altogether different approach. Geiss undertakes to construct an overarching theory of what he calls communal commitment and political change. Communal commitment denes the group of people an individual feels part of and commits himself or herself to. In fact, community is one of the big issues in social history, and thus, analysing which social groups are active in which ways in which historical situations is evidently a prime necessity. But serious doubts persist as to whether Geiss is able to produce reliable results. His approach can largely be dened as structuralist: he feels bound to dene and classify, relying on what at places seems to be a pre-conceived theoretical model into which the empirical data have to be integrated. Indigenous terms of course do not t so neatly into structuralist models, and therefore one of his permanent concerns is to nd out, e.g. in his discussion of Central Asian tribalism, whether the indigenous term A in fact belongs or corresponds to category X in his system, say, a lineage, a clan, a subtribe, a tribe, or a confederation. Therefore, it is possible for him to write down sentences such as (p. 39): Ethnographers of the nineteenth century were already complaining about the inconsistencies of groupings which complicated their work, and explained these with reference to changing tribal coalitions and names. This is doubtless true [. . .] which one would like to read ironically, but the context precludes this otherwise helpful solution. Data do not t the theory? Tant pis for the data. Geiss follows Krader in his assumptions about genealogically dened political and social structures encompassing the whole steppe (and part of the settled world). He must be one of the very last researchers to accept this approach that is patently incompatible with the ndings of both historians and anthropologists.4 I believe this has to do with the sources he uses. In order to produce a general overview, he has opted for the nearly total neglect of all primary sources, archival as well as narrative; he relies completely on earlier research, making extensive use of Soviet as well as Western anthropology and history. Sometimes, his condence in prerevolutionary and Soviet authors is astonishing, such as when he writes that urban mahallahs originally monopolised the crafts and were closely interwoven with single professional guilds (p. 87, on the basis of Poliakov). We do not know all that much about the pre-colonial organization of labour and residential quarters, and therefore, such statements are much too strong.

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Central Asian Survey 121 Theoretical ambitions sometimes produce tautological or obscure statements. In a section about tribal communal commitments, we read that segmentary political order was only possible when tribesmens communal commitment was more egalitarian (p. 106). If this is not a tautology, what is? Likewise, on the following page, cephalous tribal political order is based on political authority relations which inform the obedience of the followers and the commitment of the leader to give commands; this is tautological even if one were prepared to accept the theoretical framework which, however, there are good grounds to reject. The book is better in places where Geiss lets his theoretical ambitions aside for a moment and just gives an account of earlier research literature. Thus, his passages about the Kirghiz, the khanate of Kokand, Russian administration in the steppes and its history are worth reading. On the other hand, there are numerous factual errors and inadequacies; the pious foundations (waqf) are one example (p. 90), the restriction to penal law when discussing Islamic law is a perezhitok from Soviet anthropology (p. 89), the treatment of the steppe uprising 1916 is grossly inadequate (p. 185): Geiss prefers to see it as a last convulsion of Kazakh tribalism instead of noting its scope and importance.5 Geiss discusses the situation in Russian Turkestan without looking beyond the borders into Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Iran or India. This is true for many other studies of the region as well, and I note this point because the set of monographs under study makes it clear that the region evidently did not evolve en vase clos, but was closely connected to neighbouring regions. The remaining three monographs present thoroughly researched and solid results, based on a r-Hann has used narrative sources both indigenous mixture of sources. Whereas Belle historiography and external travelogues as well as oral history, local traditions and her own eldwork, she did not have access to locally produced archival material in either Chinese or Turki. (She has used the archives of the Swedish mission to Eastern Turkestan, and the illustrations which in their majority show local townspeople at work or in the marketplace are all taken from these archives.) Sahadeo and Morrison have both worked with a wide range of archival sources, mostly Russian, with an admixture of local languages in the case of Morrison, in addition to narrative sources. Sahadeo and Morrison have a clear local focus, on Tashkent and Samarkand r-Hanns references are to a variety of locations in all parts of Xinjiang. She respectively; Belle is careful to note the provenance of all sources and repeatedly stresses the importance of local r-Hann takes her variation. Morrison and Sahadeo treat the same period of time, whereas Belle analysis much farther into the twentieth century; this is necessary because of the later takeover of the Communists in Xinjiang. These three books among the set of monographs presented here are indeed contributions to the social history of colonial Central Asia, both Russian and Chinese, with, in the case of Morrison, a systematic comparison with British India. (British and American consular reports, travelogues of British and American visitors, and material from British services are an important body of source material for all three authors.) One of the questions in the social history of colonial societies is whether we are confronted with just one society or two: the colonizing and the colonized. The division of colonial cities into two clearly separated zones, one for the colonizers and the other one for the colonized, was noted by Frantz Fanon, and has since been a recurring theme in colonial and post-colonial studies.6 All three authors offer a discussion of the separation in town planning and habitat between the Asiatic or Muslim and the European or Chinese town. Morrison remarks that many Central Asian towns were doubled in their colonial period with a Russian or generally European counterpart, often separated from the old town by a canal or the railway tracks (p. 48), but he also notes that in many provincial towns, the number of Russians just was not high enough to warrant a European quarter. In Xinjiang, the Chinese garrisons were typically placed in a New Town which in some cases at least did not include Turki living quarters; see the example of r-Hann (p. 91). Yarkand in Belle

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122 J. Paul Sahadeos book in fact is all about the separation and interaction between locals and newcomers in colonial Tashkent. Tashkent also is a classical example, not unlike Algiers, of a completely new European town built next to an older Asiatic or Muslim one. Sahadeos argument rst shows how radically the separation was implemented, and how radically it was conceptualized by the inhabitants of the Russian town. Russian Tashkent was intended to function as a showcase for European culture, and its shortcomings in cleanliness, orderliness, morals, education and so on were a constant concern of Russian Tashkenti elites because all these were so many drawbacks in the Russian civilizing mission in Central Asia. The Russian town was not at rst a planned one, but planning started soon, and the geometric layout of the city, still discernible today, apparently follows the models of St Petersburg (with the Admirality taking the place of the citadel as the centre) and Paris (with the grands boulevards created by Baron de Haussmann). Visitors, however, chose Denver, Colorado, as a point of comparison instead: a frontier town with a rather rough population, unrened, and with few cultured attractions. Sahadeo then shows how the borders were crossed, and that in fact colonial society is one, not two. The rst essential reason, at least in the case of Tashkent, is water. The European town depended for its water supply on the canal network of the old city until the Soviet period; it was situated downstream from the old city, and all efforts to build an independent system failed. Russian engineers fell short of what could be attained by local knowledge in water construction for a very long time. One of the consequences was that the Russian administration had to cooperate closely with the native ofcials in water management, the aryq aksaqals who in a way were responsible for the European town as well. The second essential point is contagious diseases. During the famous cholera outbreak in 1892, Russians feared that the disease would spread through the water conduits. In fact, statistics show that both parts of the city were affected in roughly equal ways, contrary to what the colonial perception of the Asiatic town as very lthy indeed would make one presume. Investments in the water supply network of the rapidly growing Asiatic city had been neglected although the aryq aksaqals had constantly asked for them, but the European majority in the city duma did not deem them necessary. The measures taken by the Russian town administration to ght the cholera epidemic led to serious riots in June 1892. The essential point was a double crossing of the border: the native crowd crossed the bridge over the Anhor canal and penetrated the building where the city commander had his ofce; the city commander Putintsev in turn had paid a visit to the Friday mosque that morning (on the occasion of the Sacrice holiday) and had made a speech in Turki (the Sart language) in which he stressed Russian military superiority. The documentation adduced by Sahadeo shows that cross-border communication in both Russian and Sart was possible in many cases. The 1892 cholera riots led Russians to believe that the Asiatics had shown their true face that day. The state of emergency declared during the riots was to last until the Revolution. A third point to be discussed when borders are at stake is the mixing at the lower end of society. Beer and vodka bars, brothels and opium dens functioned in Tashkent in a specialized area of the town, the Novaia sloboda (New suburb), which was not discussed in the ofcial records until rather late, in 1883. There, Sarts got acquainted with vodka, and Russians found out about hashish and opium; Russian as well as Asiatic prostitutes catered for the needs of European and native customers. Joint businesses in prostitution are on record also in Morrisons book (pp. 28, 261), and they are relatively well documented because prostitution was legal in the Russian Empire. However, the question of mixed offspring was not addressed so openly. Sahadeo remarks upon the conspicuous absence of the issue in his sources, and he theorizes that it was the idea of separation between natives and Europeans which was at stake here.

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Central Asian Survey 123 Mixed marriages seem to have been very rare indeed. At least they, too, are absent from the ofcial record in Tashkent, and Samarkand as well; Morrison apparently has not encountered such cases. In Xinjiang, on the contrary, marriages between Chinese men (or other outsiders) and Turki women, either temporal or permanent, were more frequent than the strict ban on such r-Hann shows that Turki women even relationships under Islamic law would predict. Belle enjoyed certain advantages when marrying Chinese men: their husbands could not hope to retrieve them if they left because Turki institutions, above all the religious ones, would not r-Hann devotes some space to temporary marriage, an instrument to accomodate cooperate. Belle travellers, merchants and diplomats alike. Temporary marriage is otherwise known mostly from Shiite contexts, but apparently the Hanate qadis and lawyers in Xinjiang accepted and promoted it as well. Children produced in temporary marriages were often abandoned by their parents, r-Hann, p. 270). and the Swedish orphanage in Yarkand housed quite a few of them (Belle Last but not least, the European towns could not function without the Muslim ones. Most of the grocers and other food-producing and distributing businesses in Russian Tashkent were run by Sarts. In Xinjiang, on the other hand, there were parallel networks for the Chinese and the Turki population that led to the impression that both mingled in the bazaar, but everyone did their shopping at stalls owned by co-nationals. In Tashkent, again, the Sart grocer became a much-hated gure during the First World War, when food supply lines broke down: Tashkent was supplied not only from the region, but also from European Russia via rail. The rst famine riots broke out in 1916, and they involved lower-class Russian women and Sart bazaaris. Sahadeo also gives details about the complicated situation during the steppe revolt in the summer of 1916, when Russian women (again) cooperated with Sart merchants on the emerging black market.7 For a number of reasons, therefore, the strict separation of the European town in Tashkent (and also in other places in Russian Turkestan) could not and did not work. Quite a number of locals settled in the Russian part of the town, and the number of mosques in the European quarters was higher than that of churches: there were 16 mosques in 1913, but only 15 churches and two synagogues. The relatively small number of churches is, of course, also due to the ban on missionary activities. The Sart population in European Tashkent was already as high as 20% in 1870. In summary, Sahadeo gives a vivid and reliable account of European Sart interaction in colonial Tashkent, focusing on the social side; the purely administrative and political history is less well served, and for good reason. His book therefore is a groundbreaking study in this eld. The history of the common people, of the Russians in the rst place, but also of the Sarts as far as it emerges from the Russian archival documents, had not been written before. The accounts of the cholera riots in 1892 and of the famine riots in 1916 are central to the book. Sahadeo also keeps track of the Russian perceptions of the Sart, typically as treacherous, greedy and cruel. Morrisons book in a way is a very useful complement to Sahadeos study on Tashkent. His focus is much more on the administrative side of colonial Turkestan as exemplied in the Samarkand region. Samarkand is well chosen. It is a provincial town, and it was a centre of the sedentary economy of the Bukharan Emirate; the policies concerning nomads thus need not be discussed in this context. All this makes the focus on administrative practices, uses and abuses very clear. Morrison, as Sahadeo, makes much use of Russian archival material, with the report of the Pahlen commission as a mine of information for all the shortcomings of Russian colonial rule. It is perhaps this Pahlen-informed perspective that makes him come to the conclusion that [t]o the historian looking back over fty years of Russian rule in Turkestan, the administration appears a complete shambles (p. 287), as contrasted with British India which was a resounding success (ibid.). His arguments for this possibly slightly over-stated assertion

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124 J. Paul are that the British were able to turn a prot from their colony. Not only could it produce the means to pay for its administration, but it also paid for a very large army that the Empire could use in its manifold wars. Indeed, India was the very heart of British imperial power. It is open to discussion whether the comparison is a bit overstretched here: was Russian Turkestan ever meant to be for the Tsarist Empire what India was for Britain? If it was, did the Russians ever stand a fair chance of attaining such a goal in view of the very different natural and ecological conditions of both regions? The most important differences between the administrations of British India and Russian Turkestan, respectively, probably were the ways in which the imperial powers treated the urban and rural elites they found in place. The British decided to work through them, the Russians undermined their position and abolished them altogether. This meant that the Russians had to create a group of intermediaries themselves; direct rule, of course, was out of the question in both India and Turkestan. This group of intermediaries consisted essentially of the village and quarter elders, and thus people of very local outlooks. The traditional system, at least in the Bukharan emirate, relied on regional powerholders called amla kda r who all lost their power basis under Russian rule. Together with the (mostly Tatar) interpreters these newly created intermediaries formed what Russian intellectuals came to think of as a living wall that the colonial administrators could not transcend or even look behind. In every respect, they had to rely on information provided by these intermediaries. It is therefore a central question whom the Russians wanted as intermediaries; unlike the Britains in India, they had a subject population of Muslims which had a long record of accomodation to and cooperation with Russian rule: Tatars and Bashkirs from the Volga region, Siberia or the Crimea. There were Tatar and Bashkir ofcers serving in the imperial army, and the administration of Turkestan continued to be staffed by ofcers. But the Russian leadership saw to it that only a few Tatars and Bashkirs ever saw service in Turkestan; the quota of Muslim ofcers in Turkestan was lower than in the Russian army at large. It is also important to understand, and Morrison stresses this frequently, how seriously understaffed, badly trained, and underpaid the Russian administration in Turkestan was. Since the colony was unable to produce the nancial means its administration needed, the money had to come from various central ministries, the Ministry of War in the rst place. Conicts between the colony and the capital were the consequence as well as conicts between various institutions in the centre. The Qing bureaucracy left the local elites in place even in the late period, after the Yacqu b g families were integrated into the Chinese system of ranks and titles Beg period. The Turki ba and had to adapt to Chinese ways up to a point. Chinese high-ranking administrators had very r-Hann does not discuss the little knowledge about what happened on the ground. Belle problem whether Xinjiang ever was protable for the Qing Empire by any of the criteria Morrison uses in his comparison of Russian Turkestan and British India; it is a pity that Morrison could not use her data in his study. It would be interesting to see whether the Chinese got more out of their colony than did the Russians. They invested much less, their administration was much more centralized and left more room for local elites; it was civilian rather than military. Conditions for agriculture were roughly comparable to those prevailing in Russian Turkestan. However, the logistic problems surrounding the exportation of agricultural products were even more demanding than in the Russian case; Urumqi was not even linked to the Chinese railroad network until 1962. Morrison gives very illuminating examples for the communication trap in which the Russians were caught. The Russians were unable to understand the irrigation system, so vital for the settled regions of Turkestan, and Samarkand province in particular. They asked for exact measures the traditional water ofcials were unable to provide. The traditional system of water management rested on traditional knowledge, not exact measurements, but a personal

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Central Asian Survey 125 experience acquired over long years. Also, the heavily localized system of water allocation meant that a situation explored and understood in a given local setting could prove to be very different in another location. Attempts at working with Russian (or European) staff in water management produced very undesirable results. A number of social relationships such as irrigation, the legal system and landholding were documented in local languages only few Russians were able to read, or not documented at all; knowledge was transmitted orally. Translators and interpreters were part of the living wall; the results they gave could hardly be controlled. (Translations of court proceedings may have been more reliable than Morrison seems to think as the results of recent research Belle r-Hann writes about. In show). Interpreters are also one of the powerful groups Ildiko Xinjiang, no previously bilingual group (such as the Tatars of the Russian Empire) was available, and persons knowledgeable in both Turki and Chinese were few and far between. Chinese administrators seem to have disdained learning any foreign languages, let alone such barbarian ones as Turki, and therefore, translation was an indigenous business. It is not quite clear from the book how many administrators were Han, Manchu or Mongol; but the period when mostly Manchus and Mongols were in charge in the Outlying Districts ended in Xinjiang in 1884 when Xinjiang was created as an administrative unit and integrated into the provincial system of China proper. Translators were known to misuse their position to their own prot, something Morrison also mentions; but in Xinjiang, misuse probably was more widespread since fewer translators were available. In Russian Turkistan, locals could have petitions trans r-Hann does not say how lated for a triing sum, something not noted for Xinjiang. Belle Chinese administrators felt about the gap between them and the locals. She has another perspective and does not follow the internal Chinese debate or the gaze on Xinjiang from Beijing Chinese archival materials are absent from her sources but I guess it is improbable that something like the Russian complaint about the living wall was ever voiced in China. Morrisons work is probably the best account of the Russian administration in the settled parts of Turkestan; it is at least the best I have read so far, because he discusses the general lines of the Russian strategy in some detail. The comparative perspective also helps to explain many specics of the Russian situation. r-Hann put an end to the isolationist way of doing research on Russian Morrison and Belle r-Hann Central Asia: Morrison in that he explicitly pursues a comparatist agenda, and Belle because she provides us with a consistent picture of what happened literally next door. It is easy to imagine that many people in Russian Turkestan and the protectorates must have been aware of the situation in both Xinjiang and British India (and also Afghanistan, of course), and I think that this is true not only for Russian administrators, but for Turkestani intellectuals including ulama as well. In summary, Morrisons study shows how far you can get using Russian documents. The account of administrative practices and achievements is convincing, and scholars in the eld will be quoting Morrison for quite a long time. The administrative characters from governor to pristav the local man are well drawn, and the reader gets a vivid and memorable impression of what Russian administration in Samarkand looked like. In some elds, such as land-holding patterns and rural taxation, the book also shows the limits of the Russian documentation: our understanding of the matter cannot be better than that of the Russians if we do not use the indigenous sources. The next section is a kind of excursus about landholding patterns. Landholding patterns and forms of taxation are a big issue in the colonial world where wealth is mostly derived from agriculture (and livestock raising), and it is crucial for the colonial power to understand landholding and the ways agricultural production can be taxed. Morrison devotes much of his chapter 3 to r-Hann, but is still important, and Geiss also treats this question; it takes up less space in Belle

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126 J. Paul it on a number of pages. Morrison works from Russian reports, colonial archives and Soviet r-Hann gives the state of the art in Chinese as well as in Turki literature, research; Belle adding results from oral history and her own eldwork; Geiss relies on pre-Revolutionary and Soviet research. It becomes evident that it is next to impossible to understand pre-colonial landholding from the paper trail left by the colonizers: we have to look at the documentation in native languages instead. Otherwise, we will be trying to understand how much of the landholding patterns the colonizers understood, and this is difcult as long as we do not yet understand landholding patterns well ourselves. Morrison is quite conscious of this, and in places he just gives an account of what a given Russian (colonial or, later, Soviet) author had to say, and indeed he retraces some of the confusion which still prevails in the eld: the Russians seem to have found the Amlakdari system as inconsistent and confusing as later historians have done (p. 104). Soviet historians have developed a complex theoretical apparatus to deal with landholding and taxation. The best example for this is Davidovichs study, which Morrison also quotes.8 This study uses a relatively large number of Persian documents concerning landholding sales as well as allocations and draws on a number of previous works, among them those by O.D. Chekhovich, the other great senior female researcher in the eld. Davidovich relies less on Islamic legal thinking and the corresponding handbooks9 than on the documentary evidence available to her. Her article thus is an early example for the analysis of legal practice. Davidovich makes a number of essential distinctions that would possibly be useful in the debate. First, she distinguishes between tax and rent. Both are paid or delivered up by the peasants: tax to the state or ruler, rent to the landlord. Second, she distinguishes between several forms of landholding. State land is called mamlaka, and according to her, the state (or the ruler) took around 30% of the produce in tax/rent (the two coincide in the case of state land). Other landholdings were classied according to the taxes they owed: cushr land saw a repartition of the revenue between the landlord who took 20% of the produce as rent and the state (or the ruler) who got 10% of the produce as tax; in the case of khara j land, the proportions were reverted. Khara j land was typically called milk (Morrisons mulk) in her documents. The tax-free category milk-i hurr-i kha lis is created in a complicated deal between landlords (owners) of milk land and the ruler. As a result, the ruler forfeited his right to his part of the revenue against a part of the land itself which was divided up in the same proportion as the earlier revenue was; one third was created milk-i hurr-i kha lis whereas the remaining two thirds became mamlaka. It is useful to remember that some documents concerning this type of deal are extant and that they are the basis for Davidovichs article. milk-i hurr-i kha lis therefore does not come about by tax-exemption (which would be revocable), but is permanent, and if any category in landholding in pre-colonial Central Asia comes close to private property in an understanding based on Roman law, this is it. On the other hand, Davidovich prefers to style ordinary milk (or mulk) land as a kind of co-dominion between the ruler and the landlord. There is no mention of amla k in this article, and the author does not treat the mechanisms of tax/rent-extraction in this particular text. This is her own construction; she does not produce evidence in Central Asian Muslim legal thinking about such a thing. Therefore, it could be said that she is overextending her evidence on this particular point. It would make more sense to me to start with the simple observation that plots of land were a commodity in Central Asia very early on, and that in all the centuries of the Islamic period there seems to have been a brisk trade in real estate. If you can sell, bequeathe, rent out, or donate something, what is this object, if not your property? The second very simple statement in the question of landed property in Central Asia should perhaps be that we have to separate this question very clearly and denitely from the question of tax liability. Therefore, a good argument could be made for the ordinary mulk being property as well as the mulk-i hurr-i kha lis.

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Central Asian Survey 127 Morrison in turn does not discuss the relationship between the earlier mamlaka and nineteenth-century amla k. He assumes, however, that amla k is state land. Amla kda r therefore must be a kind of conditional landholding, revocable on principle, but not in practice. In Xinjiang, such a form of landholding seems to have existed alongside private property in a r-Hann, pp. 118, 130). Belle r-Hann states that private landowners were narrower sense (Belle lkdar (Arabic-Persian, mulkda called zimindar (from Persian zam nda r, landowner) or mu r) (p. 130). She does not discuss mamlaka as a term, either. Belle r-Hanns book does not belong to social history proper, but makes it clear that it Ildiko is a contribution to historical anthropology. The difference between the two elds is none too clear (at least not to me); one major distinction seems to be that anthropologists (even historical anthropologists) are unwilling to restrict their sources to written ones, and perhaps social historians could learn something from anthropologists in this respect. The book under study draws on written as well as oral sources and other eldwork methods. This approach is possible in Xinjiang where the oating gap has not yet reached beyond the critical threshold of 1949; there still are living memories of what local people call traditional society which means society before the Communist Party took over. In the former Soviet republics, this evidently is not the case, and oral history of the Soviet period is beset with considerable source-critical problems.10 This situation means that many facets of communal life come into the authors eld of vision which would not have had if she used only written sources, in particular lifecycle rituals and other festivities, healing and so forth. Taken together, the written as well as the oral sources r-Hann sets out from the statement concur in underlining the importance of community. Belle that Uighur culture as a distinct and given object of study simply does not exist. One of the most fascinating features in her book is the way she describes the creation as well as the crossing of boundaries (as e.g. in the case of mixed marriages). Another fascinating point for me was the demonstration that healing ceremonies in fact did not only involve the patient and his immediate family on the one hand and the healer on the other, but the entire neighbourhood; moreover, healing was based on community and producing and re-enacting community. The basic unit of community in Xinjiang seems to have been the mosque community (which is still important). It is open to question whether the Eastern mosque community is largely coterminous with the Western mahalla. Research about pious endowments in Khiva has yielded the result that mosque communities were central in that part of Central Asia as well11 and a close scrutiny of the extant documentation for such endowments, most of them fairly recent and rather small, probably will allow conclusions in that direction for more regions (such as Bukhara); their role in the colonial administration as, for instance, the basic unit in elections still has to be ascertained. In Xinjiang, the importance of the mosque community is such that r-Hann thinks that rules for veiling, such as those prescribed for women in the presence of Belle hra m, Persian na men who are not close relatives (nama -mahram), in fact apply outside the mosque community. Xinjiang is a landscape of oasis towns, and oasis identities seem to have prevailed over r-Hann again warns against static concepts larger ethnic ones until quite recent times. But Belle of identity and stresses the relational qualities of identication, multiple identities and belonging. Oasis towns were composed of various groups, and gender, genealogy, professional and religious afliations, among others, were dening criteria for differing communities. Community therefore is far from equality. There were tremendous social differences within e labour the communities, but the well-to-do had certain obligations. Even in the case of corve the peasants who have to work for their lords are not simply tenants. A vocabulary of neighbourhood is used so that a kind of commensality between the landlord and his peasants/tenants still seems possible.

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128 J. Paul r-Hann offers a detailed discussion of various forms of social dependency. Slavery is Belle one of them, and again, the economic aspect is only one among many. Well-fed and wellclad slaves add to their masters prestige, and therefore, as in many cases in the Muslim world, Western readers and researchers have to control the Uncle Tom way of thinking about slavery. Most slaves were employed as domestic servants, but some also had to till their masters elds. Slaves originated not only from non-Muslim groups. Cases of families selling children into slavery are on record as well as cases of men selling themselves when caught in debt. Other groups of dependents were serfs and day-labourers (medikar, from Persian mardika r, p. 136). Serfs must have lived in Xinjiang into the middle of the twentieth century; the evidence for this is that it was necessary to ban sales of serfs together with the land they were bonded to. Xinjiang and colonial Central Asia in general is a privileged eld for the study of legal pluralism. The Qing did nothing to remove shar ca courts, neither did the Russians; the British Indian experience with Anglo-Muhammadan Law was not repeated in either region. None of the books under study devotes particular attention to the systems of litigation and adjudication: a major eld of study remains there. Some of the differences between Russian and Chinese Turkestan may be due to differences in the respective imperial legal systems. Russian imperial law did not recognize slavery, of course. Pre-colonial legal systems in Bukhara and Kokand did not allow Muslims to sell and acquire other Muslims (that is, Sunni Muslims) as slaves. Thus, even if it is well known that many things can be made possible by legal ctions and tricks, no cases of bonded serfdom or selling children into slavery are on record for these regions, as far as I know. Another interesting point for a trans-regional comparison would be the question of temporary marriage which was apparently widespread in Xinjiang but has yet to be studied for Russian Turkestan or the khanates. In summary, this book stands out among a group of recent publications on the history of Xinjiang.12 It is the only one to the best of my knowledge to give an outline of what the Belle r-Hann author calls historical anthropology, that is, a history of everyday life. Ildiko demonstrates the potential this eld holds on the crossroads between social anthropology and social history by her mastery of the methods of both elds. The book thus is a major achieve r-Hann acknowledges the limits of her study quite clearly in her conclusion: The ment. Belle insider and outsider sources used still need to be augmented by the view from above, i.e. sources generated by the colonizers, not to mention a wider range of indigenous documents (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance documents, court records) than I was able to access. This study is thus only a rst step towards a comprehensive historical anthropology of the region in the period specied (p. 429). That is true even though I would say that to call this weighty study a rst step certainly is a topos of modesty. The social history of the colonial period is becoming an established eld in Central Asian studies. It is, however and of course, patent that much remains to be done. First, the pre-colonial period, that is, the period from roughly 1750 to the Russian conquest, still is seriously understudied, and we are still at the beginning of making sources accessible and known. This is most evident in the case of the three khanates, Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand. In these cases at least, it is known that such sources exist in abundance; much less is known about the situation in Xinjiang and, for that matter, in Afghanistan. Second, the archival sources produced by the chanceries of the khanates and emirates as well as the court records and what else remains of private documents, need to be taken into account much more systematically whenever possible. This is particularly true for administrative history where progress depends directly on the felicitous use of chancery documents, but also for landholding and legal pluralism where court records must be an essential basis of future research. Archival sources in the colonial languages (Russian, Chinese, English) need to be complementd by sources in the local languages (Persian/

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Central Asian Survey 129 Tajik and Turki). It is in particular the documentation in the local languages that has not yet been exploited. Third, the barrier between historical anthropology (which is in the process of establishing itself as a scholarly discipline in Central Asian Studies) and social history needs to be questioned. Oral history can be a useful tool in the hands of the social historian as well as the social anthropologist. Interdisciplinary cooperation is thus a necessity. This might be shown in the case of social groups such as the sacred lineages present in many parts of Central Asia.13 Fourth, a comparative perspective is useful: Central Asia, and in particular the khanates and Russian Turkestan as well as the early Soviet policies in that area, should no longer be considered in isolation; as is well known, the political boundaries became hard to cross only in the 1930s. Comparisons should include Afghanistan (and possibly Iran) as well as British India, especially for the pre-colonial period. For all these research questions, it can be stated with certainty that there will be no lack of sources.

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1. Recent publications of Central Asian rulers documents include: A. Urunbaev, S. Gulomov, and G. Dzhuraeva, Katalog sredneaziatskikh zhalovannykh gramot iz fonda Instituta Vostokovedeniia im. Abu Reikhana Beruni Akademii Nauk Respubliki Uzbekistan, Orientwissenschaftliche Hefte, 23 t, 2007). Even if the pace of (Halle: Orientwissenschaftliches Zentrum der Martin-Luther-Universita publications is not very great as yet and the output still is not extraordinarily wide, an annotated bibliography of published documents, including documents published in the Soviet academic system, is clearly a desideratum. See B. Fragner, Repertorium persischer Herrscherurkunden (publizierte Original-Urkunden bis 1848) (Freiburg/Br.: Schwarz, 1980). Court documents and private documents are another matter. 2. A.B. Vildanova (ed.), Madzhma al-arkam (predpisaniia ska). Priemy dokomentatsii v Bukhare XVIII v. (Moskva: Nauka, 1981). See also Yu. Bregel, The administration of Bukhara under the ts and some Tashkent manuscripts. Papers on Inner Asia 34 (Bloomington: RIFIAS, 2000). Mangh 3. Besides a rst appreciation of the text later edited by Vildanova (see preceding note), Semenov also published an outline of Bukharan administration (based on his personal experience): Ocherk pozemelno-podatnogo i nalogovogo ustroistva b. Bukharskogo khanstva (Tashkent: Trudy SAGU, 1929). 4. A recent and scathing critique of this approach is David Sneath, The headless state. Aristocratic orders, kinship society, and misrepresentations of nomadic Inner Asia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007). Sneaths comments on Geiss are on the whole convincing. The argument is directed against structuralist thinking in general. 5. For a more balanced treatment of the 1916 uprising, see now J. Happel, Nomadische Lebenswelten und zarische Politik. Der Aufstand in Zentralasien 1916. PhD thesis (Basel: Basel University, 2009), and also N. Pianciola, Stalinismo di frontiera: colonizzazione agricola, sterminio dei nomadi e costruzione statale in Asia centrale, 1905 1936 (Roma: Viella, 2009). couverte/Poche, 2006 [rst published 1961]). s de la terre. Reprint (Paris: La De 6. F. Fanon, Les damne The central example of course is Algiers, and it is interesting to note that Morrison states that the colony Russian Turkestan most resembled possibly was French Algeria. 7. For the politics of famine, see, besides Pianciola quoted above, also M. Buttino, La rivoluzione capovolta. LAsia centrale tra il crollo delimpero zarista e la formazione delURSS (Naples: LAncora del Mediterraneo, 2003). Also extant in Russian translation: Revolutsiia naoborot. Sredniaia Aziia mezhdu padeniem tsarskoi imperii i obrazovaniem SSSR (Moskva: Zvenya, 2007). 8. Not in the bibliography, but quoted on p. 99 n. 48. E.A. Davidovich, Feodalnyi zemelnyi milk v Srednei Azii XV-XVIII vv.: Sushchnost i transformatsii, in: B.G. Gafurov, Formy feodalnoi sobstvennosti i vladeniia na Blizhem i Srednem Vostoke. Bartoldovskie chteniia 1975 g. (Moscow: Nauka, 1979), pp. 39 62. This article can be understood as the summa of Soviet scholarship on the question. 9. The standard study in this eld is Baber Johansen, The Islamic law on land tax and rent: the peasants loss of property rights as interpreted in the Hanate legal literature of the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (London: Croom Helm, 1988). Johansen starts much earlier than the thirteenth century, giving an outline also of the pre-Mongol Central Asian authors. The later medieval and early modern Central Asian legal literature in the eld has yet to be studied in the light of Johansens results.

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10. For a recent study of Soviet history where good use is made of oral history methods, see M. Kamp, The new woman in Uzbekistan: Islam, modernity, and unveiling under communism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006). 11. F. Schwarz, Bargeldstiftungen im Chanat von Chiva, 1840-1922, Der Islam, 80 (2003), pp 79 93. 12. For a general overview, see now J. Millward, Eurasian crossroads: a history of Xinjiang (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), with a focus on political history, but economic history is also well served. For earlier periods in the relationship between what was to become Russian Turkestan and Xinjiang, see L. Newby, The Empire and the khanate: a political history of Qing relations with Khoqand c. 1760 1860 (Leiden: Brill, 2005). 13. For these, a broad documentary basis is available. The relevant body of texts presents enormous sourcecritical problems, and moreover, the texts have to be linked to oral narratives and present-day situations in a meaningful way. Preconceived ideas about the signicance of genealogy in both sedentary and nomadic contexts must be discarded. See A. Muminov and M. Abuseitova (eds), Genealogicheskie gramoty i sakralnye semeistva XIX-XXI vekov: nasab-nama i gruppy khodzhei svyazannykh s sakralnym skazaniem ob Iskhak-Babe (Almaty: Daik Press, 2008). For the source-critical problems, see the introduction by Devin DeWeese to the quoted volume. More recent publications in this eld include: K. Kehl-Bodrogi, Religion is not so strong here: Muslim religious life in Khorezm after socialism nster: Lit, 2008). (Mu
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