Empires of Paper
CASI is seeking funding to hold a workshop on efforts in the 19th century to classify and map complex Eurasian historicities. Russian and European explorers traversed the Eurasian landmass in this period with the intent of ordering a teeming landscape in more distinct lists of plants, animals, peoples, and topographies. The expeditions these individuals carried out often brought them into contact with cultures and geographies that bent and altered the frames of reference by which they imagined they could measure the world.
The goal of CASI’s workshop will be to assemble a group of scholars committed to exploring these indeterminate encounters in the Eurasian expanse and to assessing the ways in which indigenous civilizations impacted established conceptions of knowledge and reality. The nature of the subject matter affords an opportunity to create a workshop that will resonate well beyond the narrow confines of Central Asian scholarship because many of the most significant texts in this tradition were written by European scholars or in European languages.