World History and Central Asia — Time, Place and People
This chapter is concerned with definitions. It sets out to indicate the meaning of the terms World History and Central Asia and to designate the plot, the stage and the characters. Neither World History nor Central Asia is unproblematical. World History can be as broad as an ideal of knowing everything about everything, a total history. It can be as narrow as the diplomatic relations between states, an international political history. It can take a middle course and study patterns, whether Hegelian, Marxist, Toynbean or Teilhardian, supposedly common to all histories: not the whole of history, but the whole in history. None of these senses is exactly what will be meant in this study. Similarly, Central Asia can be as broad as Inner Asia or even as Central Eurasia, and there are reasons in physical geography for so regarding it. It can be as narrow as the oases of the three Turkestans, Russian, Chinese and Afghan, and this has good foundations in ecology, linguistics and ethnology. It can take a middle course and become synonymous with Middle Asia: Mongolia, Sinkiang, Tibet and the five Soviet Central Asian republics plus Afghanistan, and this too has advantages in terms of sources and frontiers.
KeywordsWorld History Nomadic Pastoralism Bactrian Camel Oasis Area Migration Cycle
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