Yuri Bregel

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Yuri Enohovich Bregel
Yuri Bregel - May 5, 2010.jpg
Yuri Bregel in SRIFIAS library in Goodbody Hall at Indiana University, Bloomington in May 2010.
Born November 13 , 1925 (age 89)
Soviet Union
Education Ph.D., Moscow State University
Occupation Professor
Spouse(s) Liliya (Liusia) Bregel

Yuri Enohovich Bregel (Russian: Юрий Энохович Брегель, born November 13, 1925) is a prominent academic in the field of Central Asian studies. He is one of the world's leading historians of Islamic Central Asia, and has published a number of important works on the subject.[1]


Yuri Bregel was born in the Soviet Union as a son of Enoch Bregel (1903–1993), a noted Soviet economist. He studied in the Oriental Faculty of Moscow State University. Coming out of the same tradition which produced the great Vasily Bartold, Bregel proved a more than worthy successor to this tradition of rigorous scholarship in the Islamic History of Central Asia.

In 1974 he emigrated to Israel, where he was on the faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1981 he moved to the United States, where he 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At a time when the medieval and early-modern history of Central Asia was hardly studied in the West, save through outdated translations of works such as the Ta'rikh-e Rashidi, and one or two of Barthold's monographs, Bregel pioneered serious research into and the textual study of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.[2] Bregel is now retired, and his tradition is continued by students of his such as Devin Deweese.

Selected publications[edit]


  • Khorezmskie turkmeny v XIX veke, Moscow, 1961.
  • Ch. A. Stori, Persidskaia literatura: Bio-bibliograficheskii obzor [translated and emended edition of C. A. Storey, Persian Literature], vols. I-III, Moscow, 1972.
  • Shir Muhammad Mirab Munis and Muhammad Reza Mirab Agahi Firdaws al-Iqbal: History of Khorezm Text Edition. Leiden: Brill, 1988; English translation, 1999.
  • Bibliography of Islamic Central Asia (Indiana University Uralic and Altaic Series) 1995 3 Vols.
  • 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
  • An Historical Atlas of Central Asia Handbook of Oriental Studies: Part 8 Uralic & Central Asian Studies (Leiden: Brill) 2003

Articles, chapters, and papers[edit]

  • “Barthold and Modern Oriental Studies” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Vol.12 (1980) pp385–403
  • "The Role of Central Asia in the History of the Muslim East" Asia Society Occasional Papers (Afghanistan Council) 1980
  • “The Sarts in the Khanate of Khiva” Journal of Asian History Vol.12, 1978, pp. 121–151
  • "Tribal Tradition and Dynastic History: The Early Rulers of the Qongrats According to Munis" Asian and African Studies Vol. 16, No.3, 1982
  • '"Turko-Mongol Influences in Central Asia" in Turco-Persia in Historical Perspective Ed. R. Canfield (Cambridge University Press) 1991
  • Notes on the Study of Central Asia Papers on Inner Asia, №.28 (Bloomington) 1996
  • The Administration of Bukhara under the Manghits and Some Tashkent Manuscripts Papers on Inner Asia, №.34 (Bloomington) 2000

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DeWeese, 1.
  2. ^ 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