New article: Speaking Sharia to the State in Imperial Russia

Thursday, August 22 
Greetings from the friendly confines of the Borderlands Lodge! Montana is a bit smoky right now, with regional forest fires mucking up the otherwise pristine nature of Gallatin County.

I wanted to mention that a new article of mine is now out in the journal Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History.
 The piece is called "Speaking Sharia to the State: Muslim Protesters, Tsarist Officials, and the Islamic Discourses of Late Imperial Russia." It tells the story of nearly three decades of protests taking place among Muslim communities in the Volga-Ural region of late imperial Russia. How, I ask, does a series of conflicts relating to economics, law, and administration end up getting articulated, by Muslim protesters and Tsarist officials alike, in terms of Islam?
I wrote the piece because I was intrigued by the ways in which Tsarist officials and Muslim subjects communicated with one another, particularly when it came to the use of religious, specifically Islamic, discourses. I thought the story of these protests was worth telling for a number of reasons, but mainly because they reminded me of some aspects of our present era.

In particular, I was drawn to the shared nature of the Islamic discourses that developed between government officials and Muslim protesters. I also found it interesting how quickly Tsarist officials seized upon any Islamic rhetoric to emerge from the protests, to the extent that they completely ignored the very specific complaints that the protesters were making about concrete matters like laws, taxes, schools, and administrative changes. Over time, all that these officials could here in these complaints was 'Islam.'

And that certainly made it easier for them to justify not making any changes. 

Secondly, I thought the material--which I collected mostly in Kazan in 2003-2005--had a lot to contribute to ongoing debates in Russian historiography relating to the relations between the Russian government and its non-Russian subjects. Hopefully, people interested in Russia, Islam, or cross-cultural interactions more generally will find the piece worth looking at.

Anyway, you can find the piece here or by going through Kritika's website. I've also posted it on my website's research page.


More links and commentary can be found in the Borderlands Lounge

No comments:

Post a Comment