GO.LOCAL and Invisible East
At a time when many people are experiencing isolation, it is a wonderful thing to bring a new team of people together. This term sees the start of GO.LOCAL, the ERC-funded strand of the Invisible East initiative, with researchers joining forces despite being ‘grounded’ in Burma, France and Germany, until restrictions ease.
Invisible East brings together two exciting projects, GO.LOCAL and PersDoc, which explore the nuances of Islamisation during the first 500 years of Islamic rule in the Islamicate East (a vast area that stretches from Iran to Tibet and includes parts of the modern states of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and of the wider Central Asian region). GO.LOCAL and PersDoc are funded by the ERC and AHRC respectively and are led by BIPS Trustee Dr Arezou Azad.
Invisible East involves the transcription, translation and analysis of a variety of texts, most of which reflect everyday, local use – from receipts to personal letters to legal opinions, including those in new, publicly-available documents from Afghanistan – while others are literary in nature. The initiative incorporates a range of languages, including Early New Persian, Judeo-Persian, Arabic, Bactrian, Khotanese and Pahlavi, and covers a number of themes, such as financial and legal matters, historical writing, linguistics, and cultural and religious diversity.
Invisible East will also result in valuable new resources designed to support further study at a variety of levels, including a Go.Local digital corpus and a PersDoc online course. The newest additions to the Invisible East team are three researchers and a project support co-ordinator, all of whom are currently working from home, thanks to the likes of Zoom, Trello and Teams. We look forward to meeting colleagues online as the projects come afoot, and – strange as it may sound right now – in person!