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Description - The Social Role of Art and Culture in Central Asia by Aliya de Tiesenhausen

This collection of multi-disciplinary essays offers a fresh, perspective on Central Asian art and culture as it gains increased attention on both the local and international stage. Influenced by the golden ages of its history – from the ancient Scythians, through the glory of the Persians and Turks, and shaped by the Russian and later Soviet imperial powers – the region is revealed as exotic, dramatic, and universally topical. Contributions come from scholars and participants in the Central Asian cultural scene who specialise in different, often isolated, spheres. Their unifying theme is identity and its formation, including national, ethnic, cultural, religious and gender identities.

Art and culture are shown to have active social roles – representing, analysing, questioning and supporting social upheavals and change. Culture is seen as an intrinsic part of society; while being affected by the specific historical context, it does at times affect it in return. From major socio-economic and political shifts, to smaller yet not less potent personal and individual identities, this collection demonstrates we are once again experiencing a time in which culture plays a crucial role in opening minds and facilitating change.

The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Central Asian Survey.

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