Category Archives: Reviews

Ross, Danielle, Tatar Empire: Kazan’s Muslims and the making of imperial Russia, 2020

Ross, Danielle, Tatar Empire: Kazan’s Muslims and the making of imperial Russia, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2020, 267 p.

Danielle Ross’s book is part of the ongoing renewal of the history of Islam in the Russian Empire over the past thirty years. It is distinguished by two major features compared to previous studies of the ulama and their interaction with the Russian state. The first is the diversity of the primary sources used, written in several languages and including private correspondence, some manuscript. The second is the author’s choice of an unusual chronological depth: her study goes back to the uprisings in the Volga River basin and the Southern Urals between the mid-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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Prozorov, S. M., ed., Islam na territorii byvshei Rossiiskoi imperii : entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ [Islam in the Territories of the Former Russian Empire: An Encyclopaedic Dictionary], 2018

Prozorov, S. M., ed., Islam na territorii byvshei Rossiiskoi imperii : entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ [Islam in the Territories of the Former Russian Empire: An Encyclopaedic Dictionary], vol. 2, Moscow: Nauka – Vostochnaia Literatura, 2018, 648 p., forewords in Russian and English, ill., bilingual indexes

Il n’est pas évident pour le participant, si modeste soit-il, d’une réalisation éditoriale d’en rendre compte. L’acte, néanmoins, peut être l’occasion d’une mise à distance, d’une critique réflexive sur la place qu’une recherche particulière peut être amenée à occuper dans une dynamique de constitution des savoirs. C’est le cas lorsque cette recherche s’insère dans des projets collaboratifs de grande ampleur, comme ceux dont il va être question ici : des encyclopédies de l’islam sur le territoire de l’Empire russe, de l’URSS et de l’actuelle Fédération de Russie, qui ont vu le jour dans cette dernière depuis le milieu des années 1990. À travers la plus ambitieuse : celle dirigée à l’Institut des études orientales de l’Académie des sciences de Russie, à Moscou, par Sviatoslav M. Prozorov, en fascicules puis en volumes depuis 1996, et les divers échos que cette publication a pu avoir en province, où elle a aiguillonné des entreprises à la fois analogues par l’ambition même si dissemblables par le propos.

Continue reading Prozorov, S. M., ed., Islam na territorii byvshei Rossiiskoi imperii : entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ [Islam in the Territories of the Former Russian Empire: An Encyclopaedic Dictionary], 2018

Gatling, Benjamin, Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan, 2018.

Gatling, Benjamin, Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan, Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2018, xiii–233 p., ill. (ISBN 9780299316808)

Questioning the Tajik identity promoted by the state born in 1991 from the dissolution of the USSR, the author examines the recent development of village masculine culture in the Hisar and Wahdat plains, located west and east of the capital Dushanbe, and in the Rasht upper valley (erstwhile Qarategin, on the upper reaches of the Wakhsh River, which in the mid-twentieth century was a demographic reservoir for the lowlands of the centre and south of the country). Benjamin Gatling wonders how local followers of Sufism have tried, in the mid-2010s, to come to terms with a disenchanted present marked notably by the repression of public religious practice, through the invocation and sacralisation of precisely the Soviet past, now remembered as a golden age of Islam.

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