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Call for Papers: Jadidism: Islam, Modernity and National Identity in Russia and Central Asia

Conference organized by the Turkish Studies Project of the University of Utah. April 15-16, 2016 Salt Lake City, Utah

Jadidism was a reform movement among the Muslim intellectuals of Russia and Central Asia that emerged over the course of the 19th century and evolved rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The goals of these Muslim modernists were not homogenous and represented a wide range of views regarding their Islamic identity, their role as Muslims within the Russian Empire, and their approaches to modern forms of identity. They sought to develop an understanding of Islam and Muslim identity that would not contradict and resist the age of modernity and enlightenment. Reform and change, as opposed to conservatism and tradition, was the main motive of the Jadidists. Yet these calls for reform took many forms.

For these Muslim modernists, the main institution which would facilitate reform and change was the network of “New Method” (usul-i jadid) schools established by Ismail Gasprinsky (Gaspıralı) which taught literacy according to the modern phonetic method (usul-i savtiye) and whose curriculum taught history, algebra, geography, and natural sciences in addition to the teachings of Islam. Thus, the traditional teachings of the madrasa were challenged. As the Jadid movement progressed, the range of approaches to Islam, forms of elementary and secondary education, and new modern identities as Muslim Turks, Tatars, etc. was dazzling.

Although the influence of Jadidism rapidly declined after the Bolshevik Revolution with the consolidation of power by the Soviet government, the political and socio-economic conditions under which the Jadidism emerged and evolved on the one hand and its intellectual legacy in the modern nation-building of post-Ottoman, Soviet, and post-Soviet territories need interdisciplinary understanding and analysis. The scope of this conference includes, but is not limited to, the following research questions:

1. When, how, and under what conditions did Jadidism come into being? To what problem did this movement respond and what did it aim to solve?

2. What are the alternatives to Westernization? Can modernization be different from Westernization? What is the place of Jadidism in debate over modernization versus westernization?

3. How was a modernity originating in the West introduced to Muslim communities living under a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Imperial Russia which was late to modernize?

4. How did modernity enter Muslim communities in Russia and how did Muslim intellectuals in particular and Muslim communities in general respond to the exigencies of modernity such as nationalism, secularism, the state, public education, and reform?

5. How did the experiences of Muslim communities in Imperial Russia differ from those of Muslim communities in the Balkans, Istanbul, Egypt, and Iran?

6. What role, if any, did Jadidism play in state-society relations in connection with the Imperial Russian state and its Muslims?

7. How did exposure to modernity among the Muslim communities of Russia alter their relations with the Imperial Russian state?

8. How did the Russian Empire develop and implement Orientalist discourses and policies toward its Muslim minorities? How did they differ from European Orientalism?

Organizers: M. Hakan Yavuz and Uli Schamiloglu

The Conference will provide a stimulating venue for senior and junior scholars to present the most recent and cutting-edge research on the above themes.

The organizers will be able to provide accommodation and travel expenses. It is anticipated that a selection of the papers presented will be published as an edited volume following a strict peer-review process. The volume is projected to be published in the course of 2017.

A title and 300-500 word abstract of proposed papers should be sent to M. Hakan Yavuz[email protected] and Uli Schamiloglu [email protected], by December 15, 2015. To be considered for publication in the edited volume, all accepted proposals must be followed by a full paper by August 15, 2016.

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