This article explores the concept of West Asia in relationship to recent work in the global history of Islam that points toward the existence of transregional arenas of historic significance that incorporate many of Asia’s Muslim societies. Recent anthropological work has also brought attention to the dynamic nature of the relations and cultural connections between peoples living in regions that once formed part of expansive arenas of interaction yet were divided by imperial and national boundaries, as well as the ideological conflicts of the Cold War. Against this political and historical context, we deploy West Asia as a geographical scale that brings to light interconnected forms of life that have been silenced by traditional area studies scholarship. We compare our field work experiences with two different networks made-up of Muslims that span different axis of Muslim Asia. We argue that “West Asia” brings attention to influential connections, communities, and circulations that both bear the imprint of deeper pasts as well as the influence of emergent and shifting transregional dynamics in the present. Furthermore, by emphasizing connective dynamics that move beyond the rather conventional focus on east–west relationships, the category West Asia also encourages scholarship to highlight multiple yet hitherto little explored inter-Asian north–south connections.
Trust, Global Traders and Cheap Commodities in a Chinese International City (TRODITIES); G1723; EUROPEAN UNION; 669132