Central Asian Language, Literature & Culture


A. Purpose and Program Description

The Libraries seek to support the curricular and research needs of interested graduate students and faculty in the Harriman Institute and Middle East Languages and Cultural Department interested in Central Asian languages, literature, and culture. Beginning in the 1960’s a sizable collection of vernacular Central Asian literary materials began to be assembled. Columbia’s collection of 20,000+ (1998) vernacular script books is unique in the world. Previously, most materials were acquired on exchange. With the fall of the former Soviet empire, no such exchange relationships are possible. We currently acquire material through a limited standing order program with a specialized vendor.

B. General Selection Guidelines (see classed analysis for detailed statement)

The Libraries seek to acquire representative examples of literary monographic texts in the vernacular scripts of the area at the study and teaching level.

C. Specific Delimitations

  1. Formats Collected: We collect monographs selectively. We do not collect other formats.
  2. Imprint Dates Collected: We collect 20th century materials selectively and all other periods very selectively.
  3. Chronological Focus: We collect 20th century materials selectively and all other periods very selectively.
  4. Languages Collected: We collect materials in 56 vernacular languages of Central Asia selectively.
  5. Place of Publication: We collect materials published in all parts of the former Soviet Union.