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Editorial Introduction

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image of Inner Asia

This issue of Inner Asia includes papers of historical, geographical, and ethnographic interest, but all of them, in one way or another, touch upon the importance of the past for understanding the contemporary. The papers by Karl Ryavec and Johan Elverskog provide critical examinations of particular representations of the past, with reference to the geography of the Chinese State and the image of stasis in treatments of the Qing period of Mongol history respectively. The other two papers both deal with contemporary phenomena, but look to the past to explain the revival of shamanism among the Aga–Buryats in the case of Ippei Shimamura’s paper, and to explore the Mongolian conception of the zah zeel (‘market’) in Alan Wheeler’s. We also have a report on a symposium exploring the history of Inner Asian statecraft, and book reviews by Christopher Atwood, Edmund Waite, Christopher Kaplonski and David Gullette evaluating recent publications on themes as diverse as the legacy of Chinggis Khan, China’s multiethnic frontiers, Central Eurasian Studies and Xinjiang.


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