Ron Sela will be the Central Asia Visiting Professor in May 2017
Ron Sela, Associate Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington, will be the Central Asia Visiting Professor from 19 until 25 May 2017. Ron Sela will deliver a guest lecture and a master class within the Central Asia Initiative at Leiden University.
Ron Sela is Associate Professor of Central Asian History in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University – Bloomington where he also serves as Director of the Islamic Studies Program. He taught previously at the University of Michigan, spent a year as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Asian & African Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in 2012 he was a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Professor Sela has published on the history and historiography of Central Asia, particularly in the post-Mongol era from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. More broadly, he studies cultural and political self-representation in Muslim literary traditions and the boundaries that defined different groups and peoples that emerge in the literary traditions in Central Asia (and, to a lesser extent, in South Asia and the Middle East). In his publications, he explores rhetorical strategies, rituals and customs, labels, genealogies, myths of origin, sources of inspiration and cultural and political symbols and their relationships with authority and power. He examines representations and perceptions of shared histories exhibited in court ceremonies, in symbolic objects of power, in popular literature and in more official depictions of traumatic “national” events.
In his historiographical publications, Sela examines both the tension between official and unofficial sources inside Central Asia, and the fascinating relationships between internal and external sources. Whether these are gaps or contradictions in representation, or direct and indirect influences from outsiders on insiders (and vice versa), Sela has been interested in revealing the sources for particular stories, the transformation of these stories over time, and the way such transformations served, and continue to serve today, different constituencies.
The Legendary Biographies of Tamerlane: Islam and Heroic Apocrypha in Central Asia. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources (Indiana University Press, 2010). With Scott C. Levi.
Ritual and Authority in Central Asia: The Khan's Inauguration Ceremony. Papers on Inner Asia no. 37 (Bloomington: RIFIAS, 2003), 79 pp.
“Invoking the Russian Conquest of Khiva and the Massacre of the Yomut Turkmens: The Choices of a Central Asian Historian,” Asiatische Studien/Etudes Asiatiques LX:2 (2006).
“The Heavenly Stone' (Kök Tash) of Samarqand: A Rebels' Narrative Transformed,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 17/1 (January 2007).
“Prescribing the Boundaries of Knowledge: Seventeenth-Century Russian Diplomatic Missions to Central Asia,” in Writing Travel in Central Asian History, ed. Nile Green (Indiana University Press, 2013).
“Central Asian Muslims on Tibetan Buddhism, 16th-18th Centuries,” in Trails of the Tibetan Tradition, ed. Roberto Vitali (Amnye Machen Institute, 2014).
“Rashid al-Din’s Historiographical Legacy in the Muslim World,” in Rashid al-Din. Agent and Mediator of Cultural Exchanges in Ilkhanid Iran, ed. A. Akasoy, et al. (London: The Warburg Institute, 2013).