This essay aims to contribute to current studies of language and empire by considering Arabic and Persian in the ninth and tenth centuries. Following the lead of Edward Said on colonial empires and translation I focus on the political aspects of language and translation in “premodern” trans-Asian societies. Accentuating the act of adopting and supporting a language as political, I argue that the wax and wane of imperial languages were predicated on two usually simultaneous dynamics: intra-imperial interests and inter-imperial competition. Imperial patronage aimed, on the one hand, to consolidate power, exercise control, stabilize administration, and order lived reality for imperial subjects and, on the other hand, to create a discourse to fashion and project an image of rule capable of competing with rival claims in Afro-Eurasia.
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Hayrettin Yucesoy, Ph.D., holds the titles of Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Associate Professor of International and Area Studies, and Associate Professor of History.
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