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The doyen of Central Asian Historical Studies at the Department of Central Eurasian Studies and Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington.



Yuri Bregel was born in the U.S.S.R., and studied in the Oriental Faculty of the University of St. Petersburg (then Leningrad State University). This was the same institution which produced the great Vasily Bartold, and Bregel proved a more than worthy successor to this tradition of rigorous scholarship in the Islamic History of Central Asia.

In 1974 he defected to the United States, and in 1981 joined what was then Bloomington's Centre for Uralic and Altaic Studies owing to his excellent knowledge of Central Asian Turki and Chagatai. However, what Bregel brought to an already world renowned Department (under the able stewardship of Denis Sinor) was not so much an addition to the ranks of turcologists, as a far greater understanding of the region's Islamic and Persian heritage.

At a time when the medieval and early-modern history of Central Asia was hardly studied in the West, save through outdated translations of works such as the Ta'rikh-e Rashidi, and one or two of Barthold's monographs, Bregel pioneered serious research into and the textual study of the documents and manuscripts in Persian and Chagatai from the region which were held in Western libraries, in addition to copies of rare works which he had been able to bring with him from Russia. He insisted his students learn Russian, Persian and Turki in order to be able both to pursue their work with original sources, and read the best-researched secondary literature on the subject, most of which is in Russian.

With works such as his Bibliography and Atlas of Central Asian History (see below) he has laid a firm foundation for others to build on, as well as producing numerous scholarly editions and translations of his own, along with his famously searing attack on the "Sovietological" approach to Central Asian History, Notes on the Study of Central Asia.[1] Bregel is now retired, and his tradition is continued by students of his such as Devin Deweese and Ron Sela.


Major Publications

  • An Historical Atlas of Central Asia Handbook of Oriental Studies: Part 8 Uralic & Central Asian Studies (Leiden: Brill) 2003
  • The Administration of Bukhara under the Manghits and Some Tashkent Manuscripts Papers on Inner Asia, №.34 (Bloomington) 2000
  • Shir Muhammad Mirab Muni's and Muhammad Reza Mirab Agahi, Firdaws al-Iqbal: History of Khorezm translated from the Chaghatay and annotated (Leiden: Brill) 1999
  • Notes on the Study of Central Asia Papers on Inner Asia, №.28 (Bloomington) 1996
  • Bibliography of Islamic Central Asia (Indiana University Uralic and Altaic Series) 1995 3 Vols.
  • '"Turko-Mongol Influences in Central Asia" in Turco-Persia in Historical Perspective Ed. R. Canfield (Cambridge University Press) 1991
  • Shir Muhammad Mirab Munis and Muhammad Reza Mirab Agahi Firdaws al-Iqbal: History of Khorezm Text Edition of a Chaghatay chronicle (Leiden: Brill) 1988
  • "Tribal Tradition and Dynastic History: The Early Rulers of the Qongrats According to Munis" Asian and African Studies Vol. 16, №.3, 1982
  • "The Role of Central Asia in the History of the Muslim East" Asia Society Occasional Papers (Afghanistan Council) 1980
  • “Barthold and Modern Oriental Studies” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Vol.12 (1980) pp385-403
  • “The Sarts in the Khanate of Khiva” Journal of Asian History Vol.12 (1978) pp121-151

See also


  1. ^ Yuri Bregel, Notes on the Study of Central Asia, Papers on Inner Asia, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, Indiana University: Uralic & Altaic Series, No.28, 1996


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