Discussing reference works of Western European and Russian literature on Central Asia from Ferdinand von Richthofen to nowadays, the author astutely observes the extremely varied contents given in the course of the past two centuries to the notions of, respectively, ‘Inner Asia’ by archaeologists (Aurel Stein) and geopolitical scientists (Mackinder); ‘Mittelasien’ (from the late-eighteenth-century economist Theophil Friedrich Ehrmanns); and ‘Zentralasien’ (since Humboldt’s travelogue and its influential translations into English and French) in concurrence with concepts of ‘Transoxiana’, ‘Turan’, ‘Tartary’, and ‘Turkistan’.  A paragraph is devoted to the administrative units into which Russian-conquered and Soviet ‘Middle Asia’—a denomination adopted by a part of French geographical literature—was subdivided till 1917 (Steppe Territory, General-Government of Turkistan, Trans-Caspian Region—with allusions to the reutilisation of the notion of Turkistan and ‘Turkistani’ people by nationalist émigré historians from Central Asia, from the 1920s to the 1980s).  The last paragraphs rapidly deal with the different contents given to the alliance systems that have been flowering in and around the region since 1993.

The Redaction
CER: I-1.2.C-91