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Persia Beyond the Oxus: The Circulation of Iranian Languages and Cultural Practices in Central Asia

International Conference hosted by the Central Asia Initiative

Thursday, April 22, 2010
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
UCLA Faculty Center
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This international conference seeks to explore the various factors that may have favoured or adversely affected the fortunes of Iranian languages and their distinct cultures in Central Asia. It especially aims at identifying the specific forces and mechanisms that may account for the circulation, as well as the eventual demise, of such languages as Bactrian, Sogdian and Khotanese in Antiquity and Late Antiquity. In an attempt to holistically evaluate the trajectory of these languages and the civilizations they represent, their interplay with other agents and factors will be examined. These may include: technologies of writing; translation practices; merchant groups and trading routes; religious systems and wandering priests; and the fluctuating authority of empires and kingdoms over language use. Bringing together specialists in linguistics, archaeology, art history, and religion, the conference seeks to assess the contributions of both Iran and Central Asia to the dispersal and vigour of East Iranian languages and cultural practices, and thereby identify the processes and mechanisms of language dissemination and transculturation more generally in Turan.

Program:

9:30 Opening Remarks

10:00-12:00 Panel 1: The Circulation of Epic, Iconography, and Priests

Jason BeDuhn, Northern Arizona University
Manichaean Transmission of Iranian Epic: Beyond the Oxus and Beyond the Euphrates

Carol Bromberg, Editor, Bulletin of the Asia Institute
Iranian Themes for Sogdians in China

Frantz Grenet, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, Paris
Where Are the Sogdian Magi?

12:00-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:30 Panel 2: Books of the Frontiers and Frontier Languages

Nicholas Sims-Williams, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
From Aramaic to Middle Iranian: The Sogdian Inscriptions of Kultobe, Kazakhstan

Richard Salomon, University of Washington
Gandhari as an Indo-Iranian Frontier Language

Ursula Sims-Williams, British Library
From Khotan to Dunhuang: Iranian Manuscript Collections from the Southern Silk Road

4:00-5:30 Panel 3: Loanwords and Technological Borrowings

Martin Schwartz, UC Berkeley
Middle Persian Loan Words in Sogdian

Daniel Potts, University of Sydney
Cataphractus and Kamandar: Some Thoughts on the Dynamic Evolution of Heavy Cavalry and Mounted Archers in Iran and Central Asia during the Parthian and Sasanian Periods

 Selected papers from the conference are published in the Bulletin of the Asia Institute, vol. 21

 

Please rsvp to eleicester@international.ucla.edu


Asia Institute http://international.ucla.edu/asia/

Sponsor(s): Asia Institute, Program on Central Asia, Musa Sabi Term Chair of Iranian (2004-2009); Program in Indo-European Studies

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