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                                by Stephan Conermann and Elena Smolarz (eds.)

Religion is known to be an important identity marker for social orders and potential power relations. The religious factor contributes to the definition of the self and the other. On the one hand, the religious component as legitimising social construct constitutes the establishment of certain social and cultural spheres and their boundaries. On the other hand, it operates as a connecting element across geographical, ethnic, social or political boundaries. Religious concepts offer the basis for legitimation of demands. Religious ties connect individuals to confessional or religious networks and postulate shared identity and belonging. Religious dogmas and norms constitute individual as well as collective orientations, codes of conduct and behavioral practices and interdependences between social and religious processes. This edited volume draws attention to religious aspects in modern, historical, political and social processes: spatial and social mobility, establishment of networked and globalized traditions as well as social development. What religious aspects might influence these processes and how? Scholars of Area Studies (Islamic Studies, Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Mongolian Studies, Central Asian Studies) as well as of Development Studies, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Political Studies and Studies of Comparative Religion discuss the role religion plays in these processes.

The book features contributions from network members Andreas Benz, Anna Grieser, Martin Sökefeld, Andreas Mandler and Shahnaz Nadjmabadi.

The recently published book can be ordered here: EB Verlag.




                                                 by Hermann Kreutzmann

The Pamirian Knot was a focal region during the ‘Great Game’ in High Asia. In the aftermath the mountainous borderland regions became peripheries in their respective countries. Pamirian Crossroads highlights these marginal borderlands in four neighbouring countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Tajikistan – and analyses the differentiating effects of imperial designs, colonial boundary-making, political intervention and administrative reforms on people living in a mountain environment. The material presented was collected during a fieldwork period spanning more than three decades, accompanied by archival research and the collection of historical illustra-tions along the Pamirian Crossroads and beyond.

The recently published book can be ordered here: Harrassowitz Verlag.

                                                    by Martin Sökefeld (ed.)

This volume presents contributions made to the conference "Spaces of conflict in everyday life. Figurations and Methodology" hosted and run by Crossroads Asia in Munich in October 2014.

Conflicts are everyday situations and experiences with which people have to cope. Focusing on particularly conflict-prone parts of Asia, the contributions to this book analyze the dynamics of conflicts from the perspectives of the actors involved, and pay particular attention to aspects like mobilization, exclusion, segregation, the role of institutions and the construction of antagonistic identities. The book gathers case studies based on long-term fieldwork from conflicts in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir.

Apart from the editor, Martin Sökefeld, network members Katja Mielke and Aksana Ismailbekova are featured.

The recently published book can be ordered here: transcript Verlag.



                                           by Benedikt Korf & Conrad Schetter

Bürgerkriege, Terrorismus und organisierte Kriminalität stellen das herrschende Ordnungsparadigma der Nationalstaaten in vielen Regionen der Erde zunehmend in Frage. Dies führt zu gegenläufigen Prozessen der Territorialisierung und Deterritorialisierung, die sich in “Geographien der Gewalt“ niederschlagen. Die Beiträge in diesem Band beschreiben unterschiedliche Ausprägungen und Formen organisierter Gewalt und ihre Einbettung in soziale, politische und räumliche (Um-)Ordnungsprozesse. Divergierende Konflikttypen und die damit verbundene Strukturdynamik der Gewalt werden anhand von Beispielen aus Afghanistan, Pakistan, Äthiopien, Somalia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brasilien, dem Kongo und dem Libanon erläutert. Zudem wird die Rolle globaler Schaltstellen der Macht in virtuellen Konflikträumen analysiert.
Dieser Band richtet sich an Studierende, Lehrende und Forschende der Geographie, der Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften und der Ethnologie, wendet sich aber auch an Schlüsselpersonen in Politik und Gesellschaft, die sich mit den räumlichen Ausprägungen von Gewalt beschäftigen.

Das kürzlich veröffentlichte Buch kann unter folgendem Link bestellt werden: Borntraeger Verlag/ Schweizerbart Science Publishers.



Crossroads Studies: From Spatial Containers to Studying the Mobile


The research network Crossroads Asia, funded by the BMBF, started off in March 2011 with the aim to question the validity of the conventional ‘world regions’ of Central and South Asia as defining bases for area studies as conceptualized, organized, and taught at German universities. The increasing mobility of people, goods and ideas along Asia’s crossroads—so the network's underlying assumption—can no longer justify a division of the world in territorially fixed ‘areas’, defined by certain character traits to be found on the ‘inside’, but instead demands concepts of ‘area’ that take these dynamisms into account. For doing so, the network chose a novel approach with Norbert Elias’ figurations at its conceptual centre. After three years of largely empirical, ethnographic research, the network has indulged in a process of bringing the different empirical insights on the role of mobilities and immobilities in the spatialities of everyday life together by discussing the conceptual, methodological, and epistemological research outcomes and lessons they offer for conventional area studies approaches. This text offers a brief summary and overview, hoping to invite other interested scholars into the debate.

The whole article, which was published in Middle East - Topics & Arguments (META), can be read here