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TALK | Religious Polemic on Imamate in Revolutionary Dagestan, 1917-1918
TALK | Religious Polemic on Imamate in Revolutionary Dagestan, 1917-1918
WhenFriday, Nov 30, 2018, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Campus locationSmith Hall (SMI)
Campus room306
Event typesLectures/Seminars

The February Revolution, the abdication of the Tsar Nicholas II from the throne and the collapse of the old order in the Russian Empire in 1917 set in motion a period of intense transformation in the political horizons of Daghestani scholars of Islam (ʿulamaʾ). It gave a chance for intellectuals on imperial borders to draft and implement their own visions of the future of Daghestan, an Islamic country located in the North Caucasus. The polemic on Imamate (a state under the leadership of a Muslim ruler) in Daghestan was crucial in these plans. While Muslim scholars agreed on the importance of the state, their opinions differed in the choice of certain models – Imamate, Federation, Republic, etc.  Drawing on Muslim periodicals, historical tracts of the period, as well as official reports of political meetings, my talk will analyze the attempts to restore the Daghestani imamate after the Revolution of 1917 during the time when a new central power had not yet emerged. I will address the following questions: Why did the idea of an imamate re-emerge in Daghestan at the beginning of the 20th century? What were the main arguments of Muslim scholars for and against the establishment of an imamate? Did these arguments differ compared to those from the imam Shamil era, i.e. the early-to-mid 19th century?

Naira Sahakyan received her B.A. and M.A. in Arabic studies from the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Yerevan State University. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student and research fellow in the History Department of the European University at Saint Petersburg. Her dissertation analyzes the discursive practices of the Daghestani Muslim scholars during the Russian Revolution of 1917. During the 2018 Fall quarter, Naira is a VISIT intern at The Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies.

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