HIS-03
The Mongols and their neighbors in West and Central Asia

Convenors:
Anne Broadbridge (University of Massachusetts)
Stefan Kamola (Eastern Connecticut State University)
Chair:
Anne Broadbridge
Discussant:
Stefan Kamola
Theme:
HIS
Location:
Conference Room 505
Sessions:
Friday 11 October, 9:00-10:45

Abstract:

In recent decades, the history of the Mongol world has become an increasingly familiar story: the dramatic conquests of Chinggis Khan and his sons and grandsons, the brief period of a unified empire, its dissolution into rival khanates, and the rich new contacts they engendered between East and West Asia. The Mongols themselves serve as the connective tissue of this narrative: Mongols as nomads, warriors, emperors, and patrons. This panel brings a series of previously unstudied or under-appreciated external sources and perspectives to the story of the Mongols to cast the familiar story in sharper relief. Armenian, Georgian, and Alan sources from the Caucasus region show how the experience of Mongol conquest there invited resistance on various levels of society and sparked literary responses that compliment the official chronicles produced under Mongol patronage. Individual Mongols travelled beyond the edges of the official Mongol conquest; we will hear about the experience of one Mongol who went to work at the mint in Mamluk Cairo. On the steppes of Central and West Asia, the familiar narrative holds that the Mongols acculturated into the pre-existing population of Turkic tribes. New research, however, shows that the presence of the Mongols radically reshaped those tribes, so that the Turks of the post-Mongol period can be said to be Mongolized, just as the Mongols were Turkicized. Taken together, these papers approach the story of the Mongols in West and Central Asia from new perspectives, allowing us to better appreciate the complex interactions between the Mongols and their neighbors.