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Turco-Tibetan Sociality – Diplomacy, Migration, and Subimperial Territorialization 
Aisajiang Youshe (Harvard University)
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Mark Elliott (Harvard University)
Ahmet Hojam (Palacky University in Olomouc)
506 (Floor 5)
Saturday 8 June, -
Time zone: Asia/Almaty


At the eastern fringe of Central Eurasia, Tibetans and Turkic peoples east of the Pamirs are sociopolitical orphans in a world dominated by other people’s national states. Not only are they deprived of group sovereignty, separated from their brethren outside of the ethnic homelands, but the two societies also exist in near iron-clad isolation from each other in a presumed common political union of the People’s Republic of China. While this inverted engineering of human sociality and the weakened societies resulting from it has been recognized as a common source of misery in Eastern Europe living under the Iron Curtain, a figurative iron curtain dividing the Tarim Basin and the Tibetan Plateau has yet to be problematized. This panel aims to show how the two regions – physically contiguous to each other – have existed and continue to exist in close affinity, both material and discursive, historically as well as in the present. Advancing a longue durée perspective in understanding the two regions’ long-standing entanglement and interaction, the panel demonstrates how fixed geographical terms could conceal and distort human sociality defined by its embodied fluidity and mobility.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 8 June, 2024, -