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Where Two Worlds Met: The Russian State and the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600-1771
     

Where Two Worlds Met: The Russian State and the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600-1771

by Michael Khodarkovsky
 

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During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the expanding Russian empire was embroiled in a dramatic confrontation with the nomadic people known as the Kalmyks who had moved westward from Inner Asia onto the vast Caspian and Volga steppes. Drawing on an unparalleled body of Russian and Turkish sources—including chronicles, epics, travelogues, and previously

Overview

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the expanding Russian empire was embroiled in a dramatic confrontation with the nomadic people known as the Kalmyks who had moved westward from Inner Asia onto the vast Caspian and Volga steppes. Drawing on an unparalleled body of Russian and Turkish sources—including chronicles, epics, travelogues, and previously unstudied Ottoman archival materials—Michael Khodarkovsky offers a fresh interpretation of this long and destructive conflict, which ended with the unruly frontier becoming another province of the Russian empire.Khodarkovsky first sketches a cultural anthropology of the Kalmyk tribes, focusing on the assumptions they brought to the interactions with one another and with the sedentary cultures they encountered. In light of this portrait of Kalmyk culture and internal politics, Khodarkovsky rereads from the Kalmyk point of view the Russian history of disputes between the two peoples. Whenever possible, he compares Ottoman accounts of these events with the Russian sources on which earlier interpretations have been based. Khodarkovsky's analysis deepens our understanding of the history of Russian expansion and establishes a new paradigm for future study of the interaction between the Russians and the non-Russian peoples of Central Asia and Transcaucasia.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Khodarkovsky offers a short survey of Kalmyk society and a larger narrative on relations between Russia and the Kalmyks until they returned to Mongolia in 1771. . . . The story reminds readers of a pervasive theme of Russian history, the dangerous frontier, on which the Kalmyks were a formidable player in action that included the Crimean and Nogay Tatars, the Yaik and Don Cossacks, and Ottoman Turkey and Poland."—Choice

"One welcomes this book by a scholar who is prepared to tackle the slippery subject of the clash of the nomadic and the sedentary worlds from the vantage point of both. . . . Michael Khodarkovsky offers a meticulously documented and admirably clear chronological account of Russo-Kalmyk relations within the wider context of Kalmyk society, international relations, and regional politics."—Lindsey Hughes, The Slavonic Review

"This book is a piece of solid scholarship which contributes substantially to our understanding of the history of the inner Asian nomadic world and Russia's relations with it."—Yuri Bregel, Slavic Review

"Khodarkovsky's book is a detailed account of relations between Kalmyks and Russians prior to 1771. To provide greater balance than was previously available, he matches Russian sources with material gleaned from the Ottoman archives, and he provides an initial chapter on the structure of Kalmyk nomadic society."—James Critchlow, Russian Review

"This book should not elude any serious student of Eurasia, for it makes a welcome contribution to our understanding of the empire-borderland equation."—Azade-Ayse Rorlich, American Historical Review

"Valuable, interesting, and instructive. Khodarkovsky's book is unique in English-language scholarship and fills a considerable gap, providing some real revelations in the understanding of Inner Asian and Russian history."—John Masson Smith Jr., University of California, Berkeley

"This excellent piece of scholarship makes a substantial contribution to the field. Drawing on previously unworked archival material, Khodarkovsky shows the Kalmyks as central actors in the politics of Inner Asia."—Thomas J. Barfield, Boston University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801425554
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
09/15/1992
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Khodarkovsky is Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of Where Two Worlds Met: The Russian State and the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600–1771 and Bitter Choices: Loyalty and Betrayal in the Russian Conquest of the North Caucasus and coeditor of Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia, all from Cornell. He is also the author of Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500–1800.

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