The experience of Christian communities in medieval Central Asia, c.850-1370.
Supervisor: Dr Christian Sahner & Professor Marek Jankowiak
I work on the history of Christian communities in medieval Central Asia, exploring how their communities functioned, how they interacted with Islamic and Mongol rulers and neighbours, and how their history and sources can bring a new perspective and shine fresh light on the wider history of Islamic and Mongol Central Asia.
My work examines specific communities from Samarkand (Uzbekistan), the Chu Valley (Kyrgyzstan) and the Turfan Oasis (Xinjiang, China). I approach these through a wide range of different sources and material, including Syriac and Arabic texts, Syriac epigraphy, excavated manuscripts, material items, visual culture, and architectural archaeology.
Central Asia represented a major cultural crossroad, where many peoples, cultures, languages and faiths from across Eurasia intersected. Studying it thus allows me to draw on a range of historical fields, including late antique and medieval Syriac and eastern Christian, medieval Islamic, Christian-Muslim relations, and Mongol studies. I am particularly interested in how drawing on these different areas of historical study, and utilising a variety of sources, can help shed light on highly significant but understudied periods of Central Asian history, such as those of Qarakhanid, Qarakhitai and Chaghatai rule, and challenge some of the assumptions of medieval Eurasian historiography.
My doctoral research is funded by the Oxford-Nizami-Ganjavi Scholarship for the study of the history, languages and cultures of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Final Honours School Paper (BA Arabic) - Islamic History 570-1500 (tutorials)
Preliminary Examination Paper (BA Arabic, BA Persian) - Islamic History and Culture (tutorials)
'Predators and Prey: Cosmological Perspectivism in Scythian Animal Style Art', Arts 11(6) (2022), https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11060120