Inner Asia

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Inner Asia has a range of meanings among different researchers and in different countries.[1] Denis Sinor defined Inner Asia in contrast to agricultural civilizations; noting its changing borders, as for example North China could be considered "Inner Asia" when it was occupied by the Mongols, or the Turkification of Anatolia eradicated a Hellenistic culture.[2] One way to think of Inner Asia is as the "frontier" of China, and as bounded by East Asia (consisting of China, Japan, and Korea).[3]

Different languages[edit]

German usage makes a distinction between "Zentralasien", meaning Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Manchu lands, and "Mittelasien", meaning the republics of Central Asia. The less common term "Innerasien" corresponds to our sense of "Inner Asia."[citation needed]

In French, "Asie centrale" can mean both "Central Asia" and "Inner Asia"; Mongolia and Tibet by themselves are termed "Haute Asie" (High Asia).[4]

The terms meaning "Inner Asia" in the languages of Inner Asian peoples are all modern loan translations of European, mostly Russian, terms.[citation needed]

Related terms[edit]

Central Asia[edit]

"Central Asia" normally denotes the western, Islamic part of Inner Asia; that is, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, with Afghanistan sometimes also included as part of Central Asia. However, The Library of Congress subject classification system treats "Central Asia" and Inner Asia as synonymous.[5]

Central Eurasia[edit]

According to Morris Rossabi, the term "Inner Asia" is the well-established term for the area in the literature. However, because of its deficiencies, including the implication of an "Outer Asia" that does not exist, Denis Sinor has proposed the neologism "Central Eurasia", which emphasizes the role of the area in intercontinental exchange.[6] According to Sinor:[7]

The definition that can be given of Central Eurasia in space is negative. It is that part of the continent of Eurasia that lies beyond the borders of the great sedentary civilizations.... Although the area of Central Eurasia is subject to fluctuations, the general trend is that of diminution. With the territorial growth of the sedentary civilizations, their borderline extends and offers a larger surface on which new layers of barbarians will be deposited.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Book Abstaract: "Inner Asia: Making a Long-Term U.S. Commitment." Authors: Carol D. Clair; ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  2. ^ The Cambridge history of early Inner Asia, Volume 1 By Denis Sinor. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  3. ^ Bulag, Uradyn E. (October 2005). "Where is East Asia? Central Asian and Inner Asian Perspectives on Regionalism". Japan Focus. 
  4. ^ Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (RIFIAS). Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  5. ^ Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (RIFIAS). Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  6. ^ Rossabi, Morris (1975). China and Inner Asia: from 1368 to the present day. Pica Press. p. 10. 
  7. ^ Sinor, Denis (1997). Inner Asia: History, civilization, languages: a syllabus. p. 4. 

External links[edit]