Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies looking to expand its influence worldwide

Indiana University Press and the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at IU Bloomington have announced a partnership that will allow the institute to expand its impact on global studies.

For more than half a century, the independent and non-profit Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies has contributed to our knowledge of the diverse lands, languages and cultures of Eurasia.

Through the partnership, IU Press will help the Sinor Research Institute more effectively reach the research and educational community through its extensive and growing list of publications. It will oversee rights sales and distribution for those publications.

Edward Lazzerini

Edward Lazzerini

“The goal of the partnership is to enhance the institute’s ability to reach international audiences as it embarks on restructuring its business plan and expanding its product line,” said Edward J. Lazzerini, director of the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.

The collaboration comes at a time of increased scholarship about Inner Asia – the interior of the Eurasian landmass – which is a primary mission of the Sinor Research Institute.

“From its inception, the institute’s publications, with content such as manuals and textbooks for less commonly taught languages, historical descriptions and analyses of regional cultural production and translations of significant historical texts, have served the needs of a dedicated international audience of scholars and students,” Lazzerini said. “Today it remains one of the few global enterprises that will publish what the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies does, making our commitment more important than ever.”

The mission of the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies is to encourage and support scholarly research in all aspects of Inner Asian studies. It was established in 1967 as the Asian Studies Research Institute and renamed the Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies 12 years later. In 2007, it was renamed in tribute to its original director, Denis Sinor, who was its director from 1967 to 1981.

In 1962, Sinor came to IU from Cambridge University to establish and chair the Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies (now the Department of Central Eurasian Studies and part of the School of Global and International Studies). Sinor, who passed away in 2011, also founded and led the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at IU and was editor of the Journal of Asian History and a prolific scholar. He succeeded in getting the nation of Hungary to fund a chair at IU in Hungarian studies during the Cold War.

Denis Sinor

Denis Sinor

At its very essence, Sinor created of the concept of Central Eurasia as an area of study, as attested by his scholarly activity over more than 60 years. Four people have succeeded Sinor as directors of the institute. Lazzerini has led it since 2007.

“Denis Sinor was a singular man of letters with an immense scholarly production who was deeply attuned to language, words, their etymologies and their reflections of culture; hence his love of books, libraries, and publishing,” said Lazzerini, a colleague and close friend. “He was also an extraordinary academic entrepreneur, bold, forthright, demanding, and unafraid of superiors, whom he doubted he had. Charming but not imposing, he was remarkably successful throughout his long life.”

One of the institute’s central tasks is to maintain and develop scholarly and technical resources necessary for research in Inner Asian studies. To this end, the organization has built an invaluable collection of reference works, monographs and microfilms of print and manuscript materials. It also reaches the research and educational community through its extensive and growing list of publications.

“Indiana University Press is excited to be a partner with the Sinor Research Institute in the distribution and marketing of their publications. The addition of their books and papers to the IU Press list of publications will provide our scholars and students a comprehensive catalog of material for research and development in international studies,” said Dave Hulsey, associate director of Indiana University Press.

Lazzerini said this collaboration comes at an extremely opportune time, not just because of critical changes occurring within the publishing industry, but also because of challenges to traditional ways that scholarly writing is presented and distributed.

A shift toward on-demand printing will eliminate large, upfront costs associated with new publications and storage in a warehouse, and should lead to more efficient distribution and higher revenues for the institute. As a result of the partnership, two new imprints – “The Papers on Central Eurasia” and “Ad Fontes: Texts on Central Eurasian Societies and Cultures” – have been published.

“For a small operation, working with the experience, capabilities, and strengths of a well-established publisher possessing international connections and contacts will raise significantly our own ability to reach a widely dispersed audience well beyond anything in decades past,” Lazzerini said.

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