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The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MIND (The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia)

Reporting period: 2022-01-01 to 2023-06-30

The MIND project analyses the multiple forms of Muslim self-fashioning in textual and visual form in imperial and Soviet Russia. This project counters the Orientalist perception of Muslim individuals as inherently bounded by communal identities and instead focuses on the interaction of personhood and intersubjective relations. The project team looks at the personal archives of Russia’ Muslims to reconstruct the worldview of individuals of the past and to bring the study of Muslim subjectivity in Russia into the broader debates on the history of emotions, the study of space, self-conception, and archival practices.
The MIND team has been working with several large private archives, digitized them and prepared for online publication. Our extensive fieldwork has allowed us to identify the most important cultural elements that have been regularly evoked in the self-conceptions of Russia’s Muslims, mainly in the 19th and the 20th centuries. Our team has organized one conference, one summer school and prepared an exhibition for dissemination of the project’s results. One book is now in production, several articles are in print. Ph.D. students have produced chapters of their dissertations and make regular presentations of their work at our seminars and conferences.
The MIND project makes an intellectual turn towards the study of Muslims’ worldview in Russia, beyond the state institutions and the prescriptive rules of theology. Next to that, our project makes a significant contribution to the creation of a network of young scholars interested in the study of Muslim cultures across Eurasia. By the end of the project, we expect to publish a series of important articles in peer-reviewed journal and several books. Two Ph.D. dissertations will result from the project.
Dr. Shamil Shikhaliev gives a lecture on Muslim gravestones during the Summer school Islam in Russia
Participants of the Summer school Islam in Russia, Kazan, August 2021.
Mansur Gazimzianov introduces his subproject at the Summer school