This book examines the Russian/Soviet intellectual tradition of Oriental and Islamic studies, which comprised a rich body of knowledge especially on Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Soviet Oriental tradition was deeply linked to politics – probably even more than other European ‘Orientalisms’. It breaks new ground by providing Western and post-Soviet insider views especially on the features that set Soviet Oriental studies apart from what we know about its Western counterparts: for example, the involvement of scholars in state-supported anti-Islamic agitation; the early and strong integration of ‘Orientals’ into the scientific institutions; the spread of Oriental scholarship over the ‘Oriental’ republics of the USSR and its role in the Marxist reinterpretation of the histories of these areas. The authors demonstrate the declared emancipating agenda of Soviet scholarship, with its rhetoric of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, made Oriental studies a formidable tool for Soviet foreign policy towards the Muslim World; and just like in the West, the Iranian Revolution and the mujahidin resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan necessitated a thorough redefinition of Soviet Islamic studies in the early 1980s. Overall, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of Soviet Oriental studies, exploring different aspects of writing on Islam and Muslim history, societies, and literatures. It also shows how the legacy of Soviet Oriental studies is still alive, especially in terms of interpretative frameworks and methodology; after 1991, Soviet views on Islam have contributed significantly to nation-building in the various post-Soviet and Russian ‘Muslim’ republics.
"These essays are particularly valuable for graduate students and scholars seeking to conduct research on Muslims in the former Soviet Union because of the insight they provide on the changing ideological interpretations of Muslims as well as the institutions and people involved in those changes." - M. Chakars, Saint Joseph's University
"This volume offers a treasure trove of information concerning the topic and more than fulfils the editors’ stated goals of critically surveying Soviet Orientalism while problematizing many aspects of Said’s influential analysis with respect to the Muslim lands and peoples of the USSR. It constitutes a welcome and much-needed advance in the historiography of the Soviet Union." - Eren Tasar, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts; Central Asian Survey, 2013.
Dedication Preface Foreword: The Heritage of Soviet Oriental Studies - Stephan Conermann Introduction: Integrating Soviet Oriental Studies - Michael Kemper Part I: Metropolitan Oriental Studies 1 .The Imperial Roots of Soviet Orientology - David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye 2. Profiles under Pressure: Orientalists in Petrograd/Leningrad, 1918-56 - Mikhail Rodionov 3. Between the ‘Language of Humanity’ and Latinizatsiia: Nikolai Marr and the Oriental Department of the State Public Library in Leningrad - Aleksei Asvaturov 4. The Contribution of Oriental Scholarship to the Soviet Anti-Islamic Discourse: From the Union of Militant Atheists to the Knowledge Society - Vladimir Bobrovnikov 5. Soviet Kurdology and Kurdish Orientalism - Michiel Leezenberg 6. Evgenii M. Primakov: Arabist and KGB Middleman, Director and Statesman - Mikhail Roshchin 7. The Leningrad/St. Petersburg School of Scientific Islamology - Stanislav M. Prozorov 8. Hijacking Islam: The Search for a New Soviet Interpretation of Political Islam in 1980 - Hanna E. Jansen and Michael Kemper 9. Scholars, Advisers and State-Builders: Soviet Afghan Studies in the Light of Present-Day Afghan Development - Anna R. Paterson Part II: Oriental Studies and National Historiography in the Republics 10. The Struggle for the Reestablishment of Oriental Studies in Twentieth-Century Kazan - Mirkasym A. Usmanov 11. Arabic Historical Studies in Twentieth-Century Daghestan - Amri R. Shikhsaidov 12. The Politics of Scholarship and the Scholarship of Politics: Imperial, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Scholars Studying Tajikistan - Lisa Yountchi 13. Conceiving a People’s History: The 1920-1936 Discourse on the Kazakh Past - Zifa-Alua Auezova 14. Ahmad Yasavi and the Divan-i hikmat in Soviet Scholarship - Devin DeWeese 15. Kyrgyz – Muslim - Central Asian? Recent Approaches to the Study of Kyrgyz Culture in Kyrgyzstan - Till Mostowlansky 16. The Transformation of Azerbaijani Orientalists into Islamic Thinkers after 1991- Altay Goyushov, Naomi Caffee and Robert Denis Index Authors