Basement Workshop

Visiting Associate Professor Abdurasulov on a Scottish Woman’s Adventure to Khiva

Through Khiva to Golden Samarkand, or Ella Enchanted, this is a title of the blog entry written by our college Dr Ulfat Abdurasulov – currently the visiting associate professor at the Slavic Eurasian Center of the Hokkaido University – which has been aired on the web page of the Committee of Studying Islam in Central Eurasia. The Committee in question, recently organized under auspices of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, sets out to examine “the social, intellectual and political history of the Muslim communities inhabiting the land mass covering Volga-Ural region, the North Caucasus, Siberia, the Kazakh Steppe, Central Asia, and Crimea from the fall of the Khanate of Kazan (1552) to the present” and as a such aims at “establishing itself as one of the major research initiatives in Europe and North America pursuing fundamental research of Islam in Central Eurasia”. The opening blog entry on the Committee’s web page, written by Dr Abdurasulov, dealt with the splendid story of Ella Robertson Christie’s journey to the Khanate of Khiva, an Islamic principality in lower reaches of Amu-Darya River in the early 20th century. Ella Christie, the Scottish traveler, had been widely known for her extended travel adventures as afield as to to Kashmir and Tibet, Malaya and Borneo. Yet, the journey to Central Asia may have occupied, perhaps, a distinct place in the formidable litany of her adventures. Dr Abdurasulov presents a stellar description of the journeys of one, who deemed to be “the first English woman traveling to Khiva”, full of vivid descriptions and unexpected encounters.