The essays in this collection, “Rethinking Sovereignty,” draw on the historiography of postcolonial studies to cast new ways of apprehending the semantic ambiguity of the idiom of power. By anatomizing the language of sovereignty derived from colonialism and statist nationalism, the editors of this special section advocate for a graded geography of political thought. They also gesture at the capaciousness of the historiographies of Asia to include various, particular, but no less historically significant manifestations of statehood. Sartori argues further that, by taking a more capacious view of records produced and preserved by the Uzbek khanates (roughly from the 1750s to the 1860s), an engagement with Central Asian history allows us to inscribe banditry into the complex, at times puzzling, texture of pre-Westphalian forms of sovereignty, and, in so doing, help us expand and fine-tune our analytical baggage when addressing forms of fragmented rule.

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