Dr. Daniel Prior

Daniel Prior

Professor of History

Director of Graduate Studies

Room 270 Upham Hall
Oxford, OH 45056
513 529 7148

Office hours Fall 2022:
Wednesdays 1:15-2:15 in person
Tuesdays 1:00-4:30 on Zoom; email me for sign-up link.
and by appointment.


  • PhD, Indiana University
  • MA, Indiana University
  • BA, Yale University

Teaching and Research Interests 

  • Inner Asian history
  • Nomadic culture
  • Oral heroic poetry
  • Human-animal relationships

Courses Recently Taught 

  • HST 197 World History to 1500
  • HST 270 The Mongols and Their World
  • HST 324 Eurasian Nomads and History
  • HST 436/536 Havighurst Colloquium: Central Asia under Khans, Tsars, and Commissars
  • HST 450/550 The Horse in Human History 
  • HST 603 Research Seminar I & II
  • HST 670 Graduate Colloquium: Tribes, States and Empires
  • HST 670 Graduate Colloquium: Big History and Deep History

Selected Publications

  • The Memorial Feast for Kökötöy Khan: A Kirghiz Epic Poem in the Manas Tradition, composed in oral performance by Saghïmbay Orozbaq uulu; translated by Daniel Prior (London: Penguin Books, 2022).
  • “Generic Factors and the Context of Empire in Kirghiz Oral Heroic Poetry from the Mid Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Century,” Acta Slavica Iaponica 43 (2022 forthcoming).
  • “A Qırghız Verse Narrative of Rebellion and Exile by Musa Chaghatay uulu,” in Aminat Chokobaeva, Cloé Drieu, and Alexander Morrison (ed.), The Central Asian Revolt of 1916: Rethinking the History of a Collapsing Empire in the Age of War and Revolution (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020).
  • “Toots Hibbert and the Etymology of Reggae: A Belated Lexicographical Note (On the Fiftieth Anniversary of ‘Do the Reggay’),” American Speech 94/2 (2019).
  • “Sino-Mongolica in the Qırġız Epic Poem Kökötöy’s Memorial Feast by Saġımbay Orozbaq uulu,” in Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky and Christopher P. Atwood (ed.), Philology of the Grasslands: Essays in Mongolic, Turkic, and Tungusic Studies (The Languages of Asia 17; Leiden: Brill, 2018).
  • “Afterword: Arthur Hatto, Ethnopoetics, and Epic Moments,” in A. T. Hatto, The World of the Khanty Epic Hero-Princes: An Exploration of a Siberian Oral Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
  • Trudy S. Kawami, Robert S. Wicks, and Daniel Prior. “A Gift of Steppe Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation to the Miami University Art Museum,” The Silk Road 14 (2016).
  • “Fastening the Buckle: A Strand of Xiongnu-era Narrative in a Recent Kirghiz Epic Poem,” The Silk Road 14 (2016).
  • "High Rank and Power among the Northern Kirghiz: Terms and Their Problems, 1845-1864," in Paolo Sartori (ed.), Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th-Early 20th Century) (Brill's Inner Asian Library 29; Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2013).
  • The Šabdan Baatır Codex: Epic and the Writing of Northern Kirghiz History, edition, translation and interpretations, with a facsimile of the unique manuscript (Brill's Inner Asian Library 28; Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2013).
  • "Sparks and Embers of the Kirghiz Epic Tradition," Fabula 51/1-2 (2010).
  • "Travels of Mount Qāf: From Legend to 42° 0' N 79° 51'," Oriente Moderno 89/2 (2009).
  • "Tonyuquq's Humiliation and an Old Turkic Etymology," in Stéphane Grivelet, Ruth I. Meserve, Agnes Birtalan, and Giovanni Stary (ed.), The Black Master: Essays on Central Eurasia in Honor of György Kara on His 70th Birthday (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 2005).
  • The Semetey of Kenje Kara: A Kirghiz Epic Performance on Phonograph, with a musical score and a compact disc of the phonogram; edited, translated and with an introduction and commentary (Turcologica 59; Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 2006).
  • "Patron, Party, Patrimony: Notes on the Cultural History of the Kirghiz Epic Tradition," (Papers on Inner Asia 33; Bloomington: Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, 2000).
  • "Bok-Murun's Itinerary Ridden: Report on an Expedition through Kirghiz Epic Geography," Central Asiatic Journal 42/2 (1998).
  • (As assistant etymology editor) The Random House Dictionary of the English language, Second Edition, Unabridged (New York: Random House, 1987).

Museum Exhibition

Selected Grants and Awards

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant, 2022 (PI)
  • Altman Scholar, Miami University Humanities Center, 2022–2023; 2012–2013
  • Digital Humanities Research Fellowship, Miami University Humanities Center, 2020–2021
  • Slavic–Eurasian Research Center Foreign Visitor Fellowship, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 2015
  • American Council of Learned Societies / SSRC / NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship, 2010
  • International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) Individual Advanced Research Opportunities grant, 2008
  • Indo-Eurasian Paper Prize, International Association for Comparative Mythology, 2007
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2006–2007

Work in Progress 

Beginning in 2022 I am directing the NEH-funded collaborative research project, Early Modern Kyrgyz Oral-derived Narrative Sources (EMKONS), in association with the Manuscript Archives of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Miami University Libraries. In addition I am preparing a series of articles on the history of the Kirghiz epic tradition; a series of articles on the relationships between the thought of Inner Asian steppe peoples and Indo-European comparative mythology; a series of articles on archaic thought, as distinct from the thought of mass societies with mass communication (as a 2022–2023 Altman Scholar); and an article on the comparative mythology of circumpolar peoples’ relations with reindeer and caribou.

I welcome inquiries from graduate and undergraduate students on research and advising related to the history and cultures of Central Eurasia, historical analysis of oral traditions, comparative mythology, deep history, and human–animal relationships.