© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/187471611X600378 Journal of Persianate Studies 4 (2011) 171-188 brill.nl/jps Paving the Way: Isma ʿ ili Genealogy and Mobility along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway Till Mostowlansky 1 University of Bern, Switzerland Abstract This article is an ethnographic study of Isma ʿ ili communities along the Pamir Highway. “The road,” as it is referred to locally, links Southern Kyrgyzstan with settlements in the eastern part of Tajikistan; its construction traces back to Soviet modernization policy. However, the highway’s construction in the course of the twentieth century led not only to a physical, but also a social transformation of the region. Labor migration of Isma ʿ ili Tajiks to various settlements along the road resulted in ethnically and confessionally mixed communities. Thus, the Pamir Highway as an ethnographic point of reference provides an entry to discussion of topics such as genealogy, identity, diaspora, and the notion of an Isma ʿ ili heartland. Keywords Isma ʿ ilis, Tajikistan, roads, modernity, genealogy, diaspora, identity Roads may look resilient but their lives are ﬁnite and, in the great scheme of things, short. ( Joe Moran, On Roads ) Introduction Up in Murghab, the Eastern Pamirs’ administrative center, there
Journal of Persianate Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: diaspora; Ismaʿilis; Tajikistan; identity; modernity; roads; genealogy
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