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Author: Eren Tasar

This paper takes stock of “Islamic media” in the ussr by reviewing the kinds of sources that are available for the study of Islam in the Soviet Union, and, more importantly, exploring how social historians can use them. What follows is a detailed discussion of three genres of materials: anti-religious propaganda; correspondence of the official organizations engaged with Islam; and what, for convenience’s sake, I will term Islamic samizdat (popular religious literature and the few available autobiographies of ‘ulama).

In: Central Asian Affairs
In: From the Khan's Oven
Author: Eren Tasar

sadum, the muftiate of the Soviet Central Asian republics, operated three Islamic educational establishments at various times in the half century following World War ii. This article argues that, far from being rubber-stamp bodies imparting official propaganda, these madrasas benefited from significant influence from three constituencies in the religious sphere: the state, sadum, and influential unregistered ʿulamā beyond the reach of both. As institutions at the intersection of “official” and “unofficial” Islam, they offer historians of Soviet Central Asia a rare glimpse into debates about Islamic education under communism.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author: Eren Tasar


This paper traces the development of the historiography of Islam in Soviet Central Asia from the Cold War’s outset to the present by illustrating its uncritical reproduction of modernist and communist templates for describing Muslim religiosity, and its debt to two foundational frames of Soviet antireligious propaganda: “survivals” and “nationalized Islam.” It highlights the important implications of these frames for this scholarship’s development, i.e., its assumptions concerning “normativity” and the “poverty” of Central Asian Islam, as well as the urban-rural divide’s salience in religious life. The essay concludes with a survey of recent scholarship on the subject.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Studies on the History of Central Asian Religions in Honor of Devin DeWeese
The volume's unifying theme, inspired by the scholarly legacy of Professor Devin DeWeese, and indeed the subject of all the contributions, is the history of religion among the Muslim peoples of Inner and Central Asia, grounded in ignored or hitherto unknown indigenous sources. Individually, and as a whole, the articles pay tribute to DeWeese’s pathbreaking contributions to the disciplines of history and religious studies by exploring new approaches and new sources to build on this legacy. The volume pays particular attention to DeWeese's point d'appui: the centrality of Sufism in the region's religious, social, and literary history.
The volume’s focus is thus twofold: to bring a new set of rich, largely unused materials into the scholarly domain among specialists on Central Asia, and to challenge historians of Islam to recognize that understanding the religious history of Central Asia, and Sufism in particular, is crucial in evaluating the Islamic world as a whole.

Peter B. Golden, Jürgen Paul, Ron Sela, Nicholas Walmsley, Jo-Ann Gross, Daniel Beben, Jeff Eden, Jamal Elias, Michael Kemper, Paolo Sartori, Eren Tasar, Stéphane A. Dudoignon, Allen J. Frank