Its tautological title notwithstanding, the present collection of papers happily differs from purely apologetic ones usually published on the occasion of this kind of jubilee.  Several authors have even provided studies of unpublished primary materials and or first-hand testimonies that give the volume an unexpected originality.  For example, the historian of Transoxiana’s pre-modern urban culture A. Mukhtorov offers invaluable, though solemn memories on Semenov’s activity as a tutor of young Tajikistani scholars (16-27).  A younger, though recognised historian of Russian colonisation of Central Asia, V. Dubovitskii, gives an overview of Semenov’s look at Russia’s policy in this region, on the basis of the Semenov’s personal papers now preserved in Dushanbe’s Academic Institute of History (29-37).  Through the still highly hypothetic idea of a personal meeting between Semenov and the Bukharan dignitary, poet and memoirs-writer Mirza Salim-Bek, a young researcher at the University of Uppsala, F. Wennberg—who has had access to Semenov’s papers on Salim-Bek—, usefully stresses the productivity of micro-historical approaches in the study of modernisation processes in colonial Central Asia (57-64).  Each paper is followed by a list of available literature and/or of primary sources.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-1.2.B-66