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The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia

The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia

Objective

For European historiography, it is self-evident that diaries, correspondences, and other personal documents provide crucial insights not only into how individuals thought about certain issues, but also in how the authors expressed their individuality, and how they saw their active role in history. This holds true both for prominent and ordinary persons, and for a whole variety of genres. In the historiography of Muslim societies, expressions of individuality are rarely ever problematized; the individual is often seen merely as part of a faith community, and the writings of individuals are more often than not just treated as a source for factual information on Islam, politics, or broader social phenomena, not as an effort of personal self-reflection.
By analyzing practices of individualization in the personal archives of Muslims in Russia, this program places the Muslim subject at the center. How does a person engage with the Islamic tradition, with the demands of the state and the non-Muslim majority society, but also with other individuals, to design his or her conception of the self (Ar., shakhsiyya)? How is this individuality communicated to others, in letters about love, friendship, or a plethora of other personal matters (SP1)? What is the role of aesthetics in the narratives of the Muslim subject – how does a self-concept obtain a literary form, for instance when experiences are turned into poetry (SP2)? How do Muslims characterize other Muslims when they produce biographies (SP3), and how do they portray themselves in autobiographies (SP4)? And finally, how do Muslims employ photography for expressing their individuality, their belonging to tradition or to the contrary their difference; and how did visual self-conceptions develop, according to personal tastes, values, attitudes, and by mobilizing certain historical heritages (SP5)? Designed according to archival genres, the subprojects contribute to the central hypothesis of a Muslim culture of individuality.
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Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Address

Spui 21
1012wx Amsterdam

Netherlands

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 499 148

Beneficiaries (1)

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UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 1 499 148

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 804083

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2019

  • End date

    31 December 2023

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 499 148

  • EU contribution

    € 1 499 148

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Netherlands