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Approaches to Ritual and Power in Central Asian History

  • Ron Sela
Tuesday 23 May 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Kök Tash, Samarqand Photo
by Ron Sela

The master class on "Approaches to Ritual and Power in Central Asian History" is open to MA/MA research and PhD students. 

Ron Sela, Ritual and Authority in Central Asia: The Khan’s Inauguration Ceremony (Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies; Papers on Inner Asia no. 37, 2003).

Ron Sela, “The ‘Heavenly Stone’ (Kök Tash) of Samarqand: A Rebels’ Narrative Transformed.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 17/1 (January 2007).

Richard S. Wortman, Scenarios of power: myth and ceremony in Russian monarchy from Peter the Great to the abdication of Nicholas II (New abridged 1-volume; Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006), 1-30.

If you would like to attend and receive copies of the readings, please contact Elena Paskaleva at: e.g.paskaleva@hum.leidenuniv.nl before 19 May 2017.

Ron Sela

Ron Sela is Associate Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington where he also serves as Director of the Islamic Studies Program. He taught previously at the University of Michigan, spent a year as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Asian & African Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in 2012 he was a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Professor Sela has published on the history and historiography of Central Asia, particularly in the post-Mongol era from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. More broadly, he studies cultural and political self-representation in Muslim literary traditions and the boundaries that defined different groups and peoples that emerge in the literary traditions in Central Asia (and, to a lesser extent, in South Asia and the Middle East). In his publications, he explores rhetorical strategies, rituals and customs, labels, genealogies, myths of origin, sources of inspiration and cultural and political symbols and their relationships with authority and power. He examines representations and perceptions of shared histories exhibited in court ceremonies, in symbolic objects of power, in popular literature and in more official depictions of traumatic “national” events.

In his historiographical publications, Sela examines both the tension between official and unofficial sources inside Central Asia, and the fascinating relationships between internal and external sources. Whether these are gaps or contradictions in representation, or direct and indirect influences from outsiders on insiders (and vice versa), Sela has been interested in revealing the sources for particular stories, the transformation of these stories over time, and the way such transformations served, and continue to serve today, different constituencies.

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