Central Asia and Temporary World Institutions

  • S. A. M. Adshead


Continuous world history began with the Mongolian explosion. Before that, world institutions, weak or strong according to whether they operated in two, or more than two, of four primary civilizations, had existed, but they had been temporary. The role of Central Asia in them, however, forms part of the prehistory of our field. It therefore is the subject of Chapter 2. The topic has other points of relevance to the overall theme. First, Central Asia’s role in temporary world history shaped its role in continuous world history. Indeed, it is arguable that, without those earlier participations, there would have been no Mongolian explosion and subsequent development of ongoing world institutions. Second, Central Asia’s participation in the temporary world institutions raises perennial questions about its function: core or periphery, active or passive, living heart or dead centre? Central Asia, it has been said, suffers from every geographical liability, but enjoys one asset: its central position between the homelands of Europe, Iran, India and China. This centrality has allowed it to be alternately a point of diffusion and a point of convergence.


World Empire Nomadic Pastoralism Bactrian Camel Oral Transmission Islamic Community 
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Copyright information

© S. A. M. Adshead 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. M. Adshead
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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