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Soviet Oriental Studies: 3 PhD Positions, University of Amsterdam

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The Research Institute for Culture and History at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has three vacant PhD positions per 1 April 2009 as part of the NWO project "The Legacy of Soviet Oriental Studies: Networks, Institutions, Discourses".

The project analyses the history of Soviet Oriental and Islamic Studies in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia and its repercussions for the discipline today. Our first goal is to study the research agendas and ideological approaches of the Oriental Studies institutions that emerged in the course of 20th century in various republics of the USSR, the changing Soviet discourses on Islam and Muslim societies, the involvement of scholars in party and state agencies, and their role in anti-religious propaganda. Our second goal is to assess the legacy of the heavily politicised history of Soviet Oriental Studies in today's Russia and the newly-independent Muslim-majority states of the
Former Soviet Union.

3 PhD Positions (m/f)
0.8 fte (i.e., part time 80%, 4 years)
Call open for both internal and external candidates.

PhD Project 1: From Ghafurov to Primakov: The Politicisation of Academic
Oriental Studies in Moscow and Leningrad/St. Petersburg since 1950

PhD Project 2: The Legacy of Soviet Oriental Studies in Kazakhstan

PhD Project 3: Soviet Oriental Studies and Azerbaijani Nationalism

For more information on the framework project and the three PhD projects,
please see below.

Tasks
The candidates are expected to research and complete a Ph.D. dissertation
within a period of four years (part-time position), and to participate in the
group work (incl. conferences, workshops, and publications).

Requirements
The candidates are expected to have a (research) master degree, preferably with
a specialization in History, Islamic Studies, Anthropology, Political Studies,
Central Asian Studies, or Russian Studies. For the necessary language skills,
please see the extended project descriptions below.

Appointment
The intention is for the appointment to start on April 1, 2009, in temporary
employment for a period of 16 months. After completing this first period
successfully, the candidate will be employed for a further period of 32 months.
The gross monthly salary for the position will be in accordance with the
University regulations for academic personnel, and will range from ? 2.042 to
a maximum of ? 2.612 for a full time position.

Job application
Those wishing to apply should send their letter of application in English,
together with a CV, a statement about the research proposal, a specimen of
their written work and the names of two referees, to the director of the
Institute for Culture and History, c/o drs P.J. Koopman, Spuistraat 134,
NL-1012 VB, Amsterdam. Applications have to be submitted before January 1,
2009.

University of Amsterdam
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is a university with an internationally
acclaimed profile, located at the heart of the Dutch capital. A world centre
for business and research, Amsterdam is also a hub of cultural and media
activities. The University of Amsterdam is a member of the League of European
Research Universities. The Faculty of Humanities provides education and
international research in a large number of disciplines in the fields of
languages and culture. The Faculty is located in the centre of Amsterdam and
maintains intensive contacts with many cultural institutions in the capital.
Just under 1,000 people are employed by the Faculty and approximately 6,500
students follow our courses. The Research Institute for Culture and History
(ICG) has programs in Archaeology, History, Literature, Art & Cultural
Heritage, the Golden Age, and European Studies. The emphasis lies on studying
European culture from a historical perspective.



Additional Information to the call for three PhD vacancies
(0.8 fte, four years) within the Research Project:

The Legacy of Soviet Oriental Studies:
Networks, Institutions, Discourses
Supported by the Dutch Scientific Organisation, The Hague


Project leaders:

Prof. Dr. Michael Kemper
University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, Institute for Culture and
History,
Department of European Studies, Spuistraat 134, NL-1012 VB Amsterdam
m.kemper@uva.nl

in association with:
Dr. Stéphane A. Dudoignon
Combined Research Team UMR 8032 "Turkic & Ottomans Studies"
School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, 54 bd. Raspail, F-75018 Paris
dudoignon@aol.com


Project Description

Proposed Duration: ca. April 2009 – April 2013
Deadline for applications: January 1, 2009


Description of the Proposed Research:

The project analyses the history of Oriental and Islamic Studies in Russia, the
Caucasus and Central Asia and its repercussions for the discipline today. Our
first goal is to study the research agendas and ideological approaches of the
Oriental Studies institutions that have been emerging in the course of 20th
century in various federated and autonomous republics of the USSR, the changing
Soviet discourses on Islam and Muslim societies, the involvement of scholars in
party and state agencies, and their role in anti-religious propaganda. Our
second goal is to assess the legacy of the heavily politicised history of
Soviet Oriental Studies in today's Russia and the newly-independent
Muslim-majority states of the Former Soviet Union.
The systematic project design allows us to study the Russian centre as well as
several Muslim-majority republics:
1) Early Soviet Oriental Studies in Moscow and Leningrad (Kemper);
2) Academic Oriental Studies in post-wwii Moscow and Leningrad
(PhD-Project 1);
3) Oriental Studies in Uzbekistan/Tajikistan, as a regional (Central
Asian) centre of Islamic/Orientalist learning (Dudoignon);
4) Oriental Studies in Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan (PhD-Project 2);
5) Oriental Studies in Azerbaijan (PhD-Project 3).
Scholars of the humanities have been playing a crucial role in the
Sovietisation of the Muslim-peopled regions of the USSR, by providing knowledge
about "Oriental" societies, by developing Marxist interpretations of Muslim
cultures, and by establishing Soviet educational institutions. They thus
contributed to the creation of the national republics and national cultures as
they exist today. So far, however, the involvement of scholars in this policy
has been studied only with regard to Soviet anthropologists and linguists, some
of whom were involved in the drawing of national boundaries in Central Asia in
the 1920s and 1930s (Slezkine 1994; Hirsch 2000; Edgar 2004; Laruelle 2008).
The role of other professional Orientalists is a blank spot on our map,
especially for later periods. The only available studies on Soviet Oriental
Studies stem from the Soviet period itself, and are of a self-congratulatory
character (Smirnov 1954; Kuznetsova & Kulagina 1970; Miliband 1975/1995; Dreier
et al. 1988; Baziiants 1989; cf. 1993).
Our starting point is the assumption that Islam—in its regional and local
variations—has been a major marker of identity for Muslim societies
throughout the Soviet period to the present day (Kemper, Motika & Reichmuth,
forthcoming). The Soviet government addressed this situation by building up a
network of Oriental institutions. We suggest that Orientalists (Russians next
to ethnic Muslims from the respective regions themselves) have contributed to
the Sovietisation of Muslim societies above all by providing Marxist
interpretations of Islam and of Muslim national histories and literatures. They
have thus provided the scientific basis for the Soviet struggle against Islam,
in which they also took part by producing anti-religious literature.
At the same time, in close connection with the Unions of Writers, Institutes of
Oriental Studies have been promoting selective approaches in corpuses of
pre-modern texts, providing the basis for reassessments—varying in time
during the Soviet period— of these 'legacies' of the past. This
essentially patrimonial management of classical didactical literatures,
oscillating with the successive ideological lines promoted by the CPSU, has
permitted a selective transmission of knowledge, deeply conditioned by the
Soviet national ideology in construction in each federated or autonomous
republic. (See for instance, as far as Central Asia is concerned, the
contribution of Russian Orientalists to the celebration of the mediaeval poets
Rudaki and Naway as it has been developing, respectively, in the Tajik and
Uzbek SSR from the post-wwii period to the post-independence period, providing
the basis for the current ideologies of the national languages.) We shall
investigate how these essentially equivocal interpretations and activities
assumed various forms and directions in the particular regions, and how they
depended on general changes of the Communist Party line over the course of the
20th century.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the system of Oriental
Studies underwent a deep structural crisis in all successor states. Old links
to the centre broke down, and Oriental institutions were readjusted to national
agendas. Our hypothesis is that the reformed Oriental institutions, still
directed by specialists whose education was Soviet, in many ways continue to
promote visions of Islam and of the cultural past connected with approaches
promoted with varying success during the past decades (see notably the
rehabilitation of the early-20th-century 'Jadid' movement, in three
different moments: the early Khrushchev period, the late Brezhnev and
Perestroika time, and the early years of independences). This is often
reflected in a continuing isolation from Islamic Studies in the West, though
substantial connections have rapidly been established with academic centres in
the Near and Middle East (for example between Tatarstan and Turkey, Kazakhstan
and Xinjiang, Tajikistan and Iran). We will study this question by analysing
the discourses on Islam in the newly-independent or autonomous republics, the
contributions of post-Soviet secular Islamic Studies to the education of
different categories of Islamic religious personnel, and their continuous role
in national policy and ideology formation.

Theoretical Framework: a "Soviet Orientalism"?

In the Soviet Union, the discipline of Oriental Studies used to encompass all
studies of the "East", from North Africa over the Middle East and Central
Asia to China and Japan. The present project will deal with Oriental Studies on
Islamic Central Asia, the Caucasus and Muslim-background populations within the
Federation of Russia—in other words, it will focus on Soviet studies on
Soviet Muslim societies.
The umbrella discipline of Oriental Studies used to comprise not only classical
Orientalists and specialists on Islam working in institutes of Oriental
studies, but also historians, ethnographers, and scholars of Turkic, Iranian
and Arabic Studies affiliated to a variety of research and teaching
institutions. We will be interested in how Soviet concepts of the
"Oriental" and of Islam were "exported" to the Soviet East, how they
were adapted to local conditions, and how they contributed to the creation of
national Soviet and present identities in these areas.
According to Edward Said (1978), Orientalism "expresses and represents that
part [of the World that is considered 'the Orient'] culturally and even
ideologically as a mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary,
scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial
styles." Said distinguished between "academic Orientalism" (the field of
professional "Orientalists"), "imaginative Orientalism" (among others,
the work of poets and novelists), and "Orientalism as the corporate
institution for dealing with the Orient". Taken together, "Orientalism"
appears as "a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having
authority over the Orient". The Western imagination of the "Orient",
according to Said, produced the backwards "Other" against which Europe, and
later the United States, could define themselves.
Said's critique continues to have an enormous impact on Western scholarship.
At the same time, his interpretation has been attacked for a number of good
reasons. In particular, Said's suggestion, based on a very questionable
selection of sources, that all Western writers on "the Orient" were,
willingly or not, servants of imperialism and colonialism has been perceived by
the discipline of Oriental Studies as an enormous affront (cf. Macfie 2000;
Kramer 2001). Besides, while Said restricted himself to a critique of British,
French, and American Orientalists, recent studies have revealed the specifics
of German, Dutch and Italian "Orientalisms". The debate on Russian
"Orientalism" has so far focussed on Russian literature and on the Tsarist
period (Layton 1994; Knight & Khalid 2000). Soviet Oriental Studies, which seem
to provide an archetypical example for scholars' participation in the
construction and transformation of "an Orient", have so far escaped almost
any scrutiny (exception: Tolz 2008). Our project therefore bears the promise of
making a significant contribution to the broader theoretical debate on
"Orientalism".
"Soviet Orientalism" (in scholarship, literature and administration)
certainly deserves a special inquiry, for it stands out by its claim to be
anti-colonial. After the 1917 October Revolution, Marxism appeared to be the
perfect tool for the liberation and transformation of the colonial Muslim
world. The Oriental societies that were part of the Soviet Union were regarded
as the avant-garde for anti-colonial movements worldwide (Riddell 1993). As the
attack on colonialism was connected to a vehement rejection of the scholarly
traditions of "bourgeois" Oriental Studies, "Soviet Orientalism" was,
at face value, anti-Orientalist. However, the Soviet scholars were themselves
products of the pre-revolutionary Orientalist tradition: they were heirs to the
whole instrumentarium of Russian Oriental Studies. Our project intends to
investigate the history and legacy of Soviet Oriental Studies against the
background of this inherent contradiction.

Discourse, Network, and Institutional Analyses

We will also depart from Said's path with respect to methodology. While Said
ignored the participation of non-Europeans in the formation of
"Orientalism", we will study not only Western (here: Russian) Orientalists,
but also Soviet Muslim-background authors involved in the discourse on the
Orient ("Oriental Orientalists", so to say), and their interactions with
Russian politics and scholarship. We will especially make use of the methods
and instruments of network analysis, which have been successfully applied
within a previous joint research project at Bochum University (Kemper 2002).
Network analysis suggests that informal relations between actors are often more
important than formal (structural, institutional) hierarchies (Emirbayer &
Goodwin 1994).
By combining the study of the "Orientalist" discourse with research on
institutions and personal networks, we will put much more emphasis on
individual scholars than is done in the conventional discourse analysis
pioneered by Michel Foucault (1966). To be sure, Soviet scholars worked within
significant confinements of the (Marxist) discourse and of the Soviet
institutions. However, we also believe that the personal network approach is a
suitable means for detecting the degree of personal agency that individual
actors were able to maintain within those confinements, and how they were able
to use and manipulate the given structures for particular interests. This is of
special relevance for the case of the Soviet Union where personal relations and
bonds of clientelism often outmatched hierarchies and institutional
affiliations. This could be shown in a pilot study on the Soviet discourse on
Islam in the 1920s and 1930s: the Marxist discourse of that period was highly
innovative and heavily personalised (Kemper, "Soviet Discourse",
forthcoming).
Finally, the Soviet case is also unique because many Soviet scholars who
contributed to this discourse on Islam fell victim to the Red Terror (cf.
Vasilkov & Sorokina 2003; Ashnin, Alpatov & Nasilov 2002)—which, for the
paradigm of "Orientalism", constitutes the most extreme case of state
intervention in Oriental Studies. One of our questions is in how far divergent
interpretations of Islam and of the vernacular cultures and historical past
associated with it were responsible for a particular scholar's repression
(see for instance the fate of the historian of Central Asian literature and
director of the Oriental Institute, A. N. Samoilovich: his advocacy of
early-20th-century liberal and modernist trends in Russian Turkistan seems to
have contributed to his arrest and execution in 1937). Evidently, discourse
analysis cannot be separated from biographical and network studies, which in
turn must be accompanied by research on the institutions into which these
scholars were embedded.


Innovative Character and Relevance of the Project

1) By opening up a new field for empirical study, the project will
significantly enlarge the ongoing debate on "Orientalism", and also
contribute to its refinement on the theoretical level.
2) By choosing an inclusive definition of "Oriental Studies", the project
is interdisciplinary, combining Islamic Studies, Oriental history, Turkic
studies and Iranian studies, as well as anthropology.
3) The project studies not only the history of an academic discipline but also
its contribution to policy-making and social transformation.
4) We will be studying Soviet Orientology not only as a historical phenomenon,
but above all as a continuing legacy. The project is of relevance for
understanding present-day scholarship and identity-building among
Muslim-background societies in Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.
5) By putting a focus on ethnic Muslim Orientalists, the project will make full
use of sources in national languages (Tajik, Uzbek, Kazakh, Azerbaijani, etc.).
This should set us apart from the "Sovietological" approach still prevalent
in political studies on Central Asia and the Caucasus, which is mostly based on
Russian-language sources only (for a critique of Sovietology, see Bregel 1996;
DeWeese 2002). While being situated in a Department of European Studies and
studying the "export" of European scholarship to the East, the project will
be directed by two specialists trained in Islamic and Central Eurasian Studies.
6) By studying a coherent complex of common questions in different
environments, the project will also be comparative. Sub-projects will be
interconnected by the discourses and institutional and personal networks that
we study: We will trace connections, similarities and differences between
various republics, between republics and a regional centre (Tashkent), as well
as between the regions and the Russian centres.
7) By covering the Soviet as well as the post-Soviet periods, the project will
transcend the perceived historical watershed of 1991, making our approach
comparative on a temporal level as well.
8) By using a combination of discourse, network and structural (institutional)
analysis, the project attempts at further developing a methodological framework
that transcends the usual restrictions of discourse analysis.




Sub-Projects:

Sub-Project 1: From Ghafurov to Primakov: The Politicisation of Academic
Oriental Studies in Moscow and Leningrad/St. Petersburg since 1950
PhD Researcher (to be selected by open call), 4 years, 0.75 fte
This PhD project will study the central institutions of academic Oriental
scholarship in post-wwii Russia, the Institute for Oriental Studies in Moscow
and its Leningrad branch. The Institute emerged in 1936 when the old Asiatic
Museum in St. Petersburg, the major centre of philological Orientalist
scholarship in Tsarist Russia, was transformed into an academic institute; in
1950 it was transferred to Moscow, in order to be more thoroughly subject to
the interests of the Communist Party and the Soviet state. The effective
politicisation of the Institute occurred under the directorates of Bobojon
Ghafurov (1956-1977) and Evgenii Primakov (1977-1985).
Ghafurov had served as Stalin's First Secretary of the Communist Party of
Tajikistan before he became director of the Oriental Institute in 1956. Under
his leadership, the institute expanded significantly and became more geared
towards the interests of Soviet foreign policy, to the detriment of classical
philology. Research on Ghafurov will be connected to a study of the almost
permanent reorganisations of the Institute in this period. During Ghafurov's
tenure, the word "Oriental" was eliminated from the Institute's name,
turning it temporarily into an "Institute for the Peoples of Asia". Our
intention is to study the debates surrounding these reforms, and to find out in
how far this name change was linked to a discussion of "Orientalism" in the
central academic journals. In addition, we want to find out how the policies of
reform in this central institution affected the Oriental institutions in the
individual republics (which are studied in other sub-projects), and how the
networks spread out from the centre to the peripheries.
Evgenii Primakov (born in 1927) was Ghafurov's successor as director of the
Institute of Oriental Studies until 1985. He then served as director of the
Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service and became Russian Foreign Minister
(1996-1998) and Prime Minister (1998-1999) under Yeltsin. As a departure from
the Western-oriented course of his predecessors, Primakov inaugurated the
policy of "Great Power Balancing", which, in principle, has been continued
by Putin since. We would like to study Primakov's experience as head of the
Oriental Institute in order to assess the development of his "Eurasianist"
political agenda; we will also study his most recent writings on Islam and
terrorism.
This sub-project will be directly linked to, and supported by, the research by
Michael Kemper on the Soviet Oriental institutions in Moscow and Leningrad
before 1950, and requires a PhD scholar with excellent Russian skills.


Sub-Project 2: The Legacy of Soviet Oriental Studies in Kazakhstan
PhD Researcher (to be selected by open call), 4 years, 0.75 fte
By contrast to the predominantly sedentary centres of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
and Azerbaijan (investigated in other sub-projects), Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan
have a tribal, predominantly semi-nomadic past, and were subject to significant
Russian settlement colonisation. In both regions the Soviet
transformation—especially the enforced settlement and collectivisation
campaigns of the late 1920s and early 1930s—brought about horrendous famines
that exterminated huge parts of the population. Russian—and even more so
Soviet—scholarship used to regard the Muslim population of these regions as
only "superficially Islamised". Islam was regarded as a thin cover imposed
by foreign missionaries on the traditional culture of shamanism and tribal
institutions. The linkage between Islam and "superstitions" was probably
nowhere as strong as in Oriental scholarship on these societies. This is
reflected in the fact that Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan belonged to those
Muslim-populated regions of the former USSR that did not develop a strong
institutional system of Soviet Oriental Studies. Islamic Studies were, however,
pursued at universities or at institutes for history and anthropology.
After the end of the USSR, the traditional links between the Central Asian
research communities in Almaty, Bishkek and Tashkent fell apart, and a distinct
Institute of Oriental Studies in Almaty was established in 1996. Since then,
the Suleimenov Institute has developed an impressive research agenda and an
ambitious publishing programme, including the translation and publication of
Western specialist literature. As Kazakhstan's population roughly comprises
40% Kazakhs and some 40% ethnic Russians, the discourse on Islam in this
country is fundamentally different from the ones in neighbouring Central Asian
states, where official history and culture is geared towards the respective
nominally Muslim-background nation-states. One aim of this sub-project is to
study the discourse on Islam in this peculiar post-Soviet situation (with great
differences between the Slavic-peopled north of the country and its Kazakh- and
Uzbek-peopled south), to understand the scholarly network connections to other
Central Asian republics (esp. Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) as well as to the
Institutes of Oriental Studies in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Also, Kazakhstan
proved to be much more open to the work by, and collaboration with, researchers
from the West and from Muslim countries, including the work of many NGOs. In
addition, Kazakh Oriental Studies have been instrumental in the education of
Muslim religious personnel (for mosques and madrasas)—one of the Kazakh
Muftis after independence, Derbisali, graduated from the Moscow Institute for
Oriental Studies. The sub-project will therefore focus on the ways in which
Western as well as Islamic scholarship have been challenging the
old-established Soviet definitions of Islam, and the effects of the
transformation processes on scientific networks and institutions, as well as on
the discourse on Islam; and in how far these changes have been connected to
state policies on Islam and on education.
This sub-project will be directly linked to the ongoing research of Dr.
Stéphane A. Dudoignon on Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The sub-project requires a
PhD researcher with good language skills in Russian and one Turkic language of
Central Asia, preferably Kazakh.

Sub-Project 3: Soviet Oriental Studies and Azerbaijani Nationalism
PhD Researcher (to be selected by open call), 4 years, 0.75 fte
This PhD project focuses on the impact of nationalism on late Soviet and
post-Soviet Oriental Studies in Azerbaijan, especially against the background
of debates on the history of urban pogroms, the Armenian genocide, and the
Armenian enclave of Karabakh within the former Azerbaijani SSR.
The ideal starting point for this project is the yet unstudied biography of
Ziya Buniyatov (1921-1997), who emerged in the country as the foremost
representative of both Arabic Studies and Azerbaijani historiography. In his
early writings on mediaeval Azerbaijan, he cemented the nationalist claim on
Karabakh, which brought him into conflict not only with Armenian colleagues but
also with Russian scholars. Buniyatov was also among the first Soviet
Orientalists to produce solid works on Islam, including a translation of the
Qur'an and an encyclopaedia of Islamic legal schools and Sufi brotherhoods.
Most controversial was also his work as a columnist; in his Red Terror (Qyrmyzy
terror, 1993), he started the first scientific investigation into the history
of Stalinist persecutions in Azerbaijan. While joining the newly created
nationalist party of the former Communist party secretary Heydar Aliyev
(president of Azerbaijan in 1993-2003), Buniyatov remained critical of
Aliyev's policies, and accused the old/new national leadership of corruption.
It was obviously in connection with his involvement in politics that Buniyatov
was assassinated in 1997. Today, he is remembered as the moral consciousness of
Azerbaijani humanities. His career path, documented in his personal archive in
the Institute for Oriental Studies in Baku (which today bears his name),
provides us with an excellent opportunity to study the international networks
of Orientalists in the late Soviet Union (in close collaboration with
Sub-Project 1), as well as the inner workings of networks in party and
scholarship in Azerbaijan. The project requires a researcher with good skills
in Russian and in Azerbaijani or Turkish.


Sub-Project 4: Academic Orientalists, Unionised Writers and Scholars of Islam
in the Reassessment of Tradition (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, since 1924),
conducted by Stéphane A. Dudoignon

A Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Studies on the Balkans, Turkey and
Central Asia (in the CNRS, EHESS and Collège de France, Paris) and a Lecturer
at the Institute for the Study of Islam and of the Societies of the Muslim
World (IISMM) at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS,
Paris), Stéphane A. Dudoignon has been extensively sojourning in Russia and
Central Asia since 1989, and in Iran since 1996. He was a Research Fellow at
the New Sorbonne University of Paris (1990-94) and at the French Institute of
Central Asian Studies in Tashkent (1994-97), authoring a doctoral dissertation
presented in 1996 at the New Sorbonne University on the reform and
modernisation movements among the Muslims of the Russian Empire. In 1998-2000,
he was a JSPS Invited Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo (Islamic Area
Studies Project). Since 2000, he has been regularly lecturing at the School
for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris). Since 2008 he edits the
Central Eurasian Reader, a biennial English-language journal of critical
bibliography and epistemology of modern and contemporary Central Eurasian
studies. From 2008 to 2012, he will be co-managing the international research
programme "From Kolkhozes to Jamaats: The Islamicisation of Rural Communities
in Soviet Central Eurasia, since the 1960s," with Christian Noack (National
University of Ireland at Maynooth), and supported by a grant from the
Volkswagen Foundation. The author (in 1990 and 1992) of two feature-length
documentary films for the French state-owned TV channel 'France 3', he has
also translated several works of contemporary Central Asian and Caucasian
literatures (from Tajik Persian, Uzbek, Azerbaijani and Russian languages).
In the framework of the present project, S. A. Dudoignon will be doing research
on the academic and university-based Oriental Studies, particularly on their
links with the religious personnel of Islam and Muslim-background intellectuals
in Soviet and post-Soviet Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. From among all
Muslim-majority regions of the former USSR, Uzbekistan stands out as a regional
centre of Islamic religious education, since the only two "official"
madrasas (Islamic higher educational institutions) for the whole of the USSR
were located in Bukhara and Tashkent. Also, the Islamic Spiritual Board
(Muftiyyat) in Tashkent was in charge of staffing and controlling Islamic
communities not only in Uzbekistan, but also in the neighbouring Central Asian
republics, which were represented by regional offices (Qaziyyats) within the
Muftiyyat. After 1991, these Qaziyyats were turned into national Muftiyyats
for the respective sovereign republics (with the exception of Tajikistan, where
since the end of the civil war the Islamic establishment is directed by a Board
of Scholars). Besides, grassroots movements have challenged the legitimacy of
the Muftiyyat, and led to the consolidation of alternative religious personnel
and structures. In Tajikistan for instance, the Uzbek-speaking religious
institutions of big cities and cotton valleys have been contested by
generations of Persian-speaking mullahs and shaykhs from highlands, whose
activities contributed to the revival of the last forty years. Both
"official" and "grassroots" religious personnel and Islamic
intellectuals had contacts with secular Oriental Studies (the best known
example being that of the conservative Hanafi Sunni scholar of Islam Mawlawi
Hindustani [1892-1989], recruited as a specialist of Pashto language in the
Institute of Oriental Studies of Stalinabad after his return from the Gulag).
S. A. Dudoignon investigates the relationship between Oriental Studies
(performed at the Institutes for Oriental Studies and in the faculties in
Dushanbe and Tashkent) and Islamic scholars and intellectuals of different
status and background, especially in their common reassessment of the adab (the
norms of socialisation transmitted by Persian and Turkic classical and Soviet
didactical literatures). His work challenges the idea, dominant in
Sovietological research, of a strict distinction and mutual segregation between
"official" and "unofficial" Islam, and between academic scholarship at,
respectively, secular and religious institutions. S. A. Dudoignon's work will
therefore provide the perspective of a regional centre, with Tashkent as the
hub of specific Central Asian networks.


Sub-Project 5: Soviet Oriental Studies in Moscow and Leningrad: Discourses,
Networks, Institutions (1917–1945), conducted by Michael Kemper

Michael Kemper is Professor and Chair for Eastern European History and Eastern
European Studies at the Department (Opleiding) for European Studies of the
University of Amsterdam. From 2005 to 2007 he worked as Assistant Professor for
Central Eurasian History at St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY; beforehand, he
had worked at the Institute for Oriental and Islamic Studies of Bochum
University, Germany, where he directed the Junior Research Group Islamic
Networks of Education (18th-20th Centuries), which produced six PhDs. In his
dissertation (Sufis und Gelehrte in Tatarien und Baschkirien, 1789-1889,
Berlin, 1998) he studied the Islamic discourse of Muslims under Russian rule in
the Volga-Urals region. His post-doctoral habilitation (Herrschaft, Recht und
Islam in Daghestan, Wiesbaden, 2005) dealt with the networks of Islamic law and
jihad in the Northern Caucasus. By yearly fieldwork since the 1990s, Kemper
built up a vast scholarly network in almost all Muslim republics of the former
Soviet Union that will be beneficial to the project.
M. Kemper's current research focuses on networking, institutionalisation, and
discourse changes in the Soviet Orientalist institutions in Moscow and
Leningrad during the 1920s and 1930s. He will contribute a study on Mikhail
Pavlovich (d. 1927), the leading Bolshevik activist in Oriental matters and
director of the Moscow Institute for Oriental Studies. This institution was
created in 1921 as a Party school for the education of diplomats, educators and
party workers, and stood in direct competition to the Asiatic Museum/the
Oriental Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences studied in Sub-Project 1.
Pavlovich also set up the All-Union Association of Orientalists, an umbrella
organisation for the coordination of all Orientalists in the USSR, and the
journal he edited, Novyi Vostok ("The New Orient", 1922-1930), served as a
common platform for framing the discourse on Islam in the Soviet Muslim
regions.

Synthesising Monograph: Networks, Institutions, Discourses

Next to the three dissertations, the project will result in a collective
monograph, written by the two applicants but with active collaboration of the
three PhD researchers. The book is intended as a critical analysis of Oriental
Studies in the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet space.

References:

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Baziiants A.P. (ed.), Stanovlenie sovetskogo vostokovedeniia (Moscow, 1993)
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