This two-volume publication orchestrated by the Research Library of the Toyo Bunko (directed by Prof. Dr. Tsugitaka Sato) is a tentative assessment of the evolutions that have necessarily occurred in what we have got accustomed to call the ‘Central Eurasian studies’ since the political change of the mid-1980s in the USSR, and the economic reforms launched in the People’s Republic of China slightly before. Observing at the same time the spectacular quantitative expansion of academic publications on modern and contemporary Central Eurasian societies, and the extreme institutional dissipation of research endeavours, the editors have ambitioned to propose an epistemological covering of the existing bibliography. If the reasons for this lasting gap were probably many, the growing sensation of this lack had been even more felt in the late 1990s by an ever increasing audience. If for the simple cataloguing of publications printed bibliographies are destined to be replaced by computerised databases accessible through the worldwide web, conversely the extreme diversity and varying interest of the ever growing amount of publications creates a new need for selective and critical bibliographies, for helping specialists and students to find their way in the now overabundant and heterogenous corpus and printed works.
The first volume consists of a series of epistemological papers on different aspects of this evolution, in different countries and areas, and in various disciplines (each is summarised infra in 1.2.C.): Farkhshatov Marsil & Noack Christian, “Research Trends in Studies on the History of Islam and Muslim Peoples (Bashkirs, Volga and Siberian Tatars) Conducted in European Russia and Siberia, ca. 1985-2000,” 1-47; Uyama Tomohiko, “Research Trends in the former Soviet Central Asian Countries,” 48-68; Hamada Masami, “Research Trends in Xinjiang Studies,” 69-86; Adams Laura L., “Research Trends in Sociology,” 87-98; Türkoğlu İsmail, “Central Eurasian Studies in Turkey (1985-2002),” 99-126; Komatsu Hisao, “Modern Central Eurasian Studies in Japan: An Overview (1985-2000),” 127-155; Dudoignon Stéphane A., “Central Eurasian Studies in the European Union: A Short Insight,” 156-211. The second volume has been prepared in close association with the French yearbook of Iranian studies Abstracta Iranica (created by Charles-Henri de Fouchécour in 1977, presently edited in Tehran & Paris by the French Institute of Research in Iran). It consists of a selective and critical bibliography of Central Eurasian studies from 1985 to 2000—that the Central Eurasian Reader will endeavour to continue, this journal’s main aims, inner structure and principles remaining those of the Toyo Bunko’s bibliography.