Languages of Islam and Christianity in Post-Soviet Russia

In her book, Gulnaz Sibgatullina examines the intricate relationship of religion, identity and language-related beliefs against the background of socio-political changes in post-Soviet Russia. Focusing on the Russian and Tatar languages, she explores how they simultaneously serve the needs of both Muslims and Christians living in the country today.

Mapping linguistic strategies of missionaries, converts and religious authorities, Sibgatullina demonstrates how sacred vocabulary in each of the languages is being contested by a variety of social actors, often with competing agendas. These linguistic collisions not only affect meanings of the religious lexicon in Tatar and Russian but also drive a gradual convergence of Russia's Islam and Christianity.

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Gulnaz Sibgatullina, Ph.D. (2019), Leiden University, is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The main themes of her work have been Muslim-Christian relations in Russia, religious conversion as well as translation politics.
List of Tables and Figures
Notes on Translation and Transliteration
1 Introduction
 1.1 Earlier Work on the Religious Language and Some Gaps in the Research on the Sociology of Language and Religion
 1.2 Languages across Faith Communities
 1.3 Research Questions
 1.4 Defining Religious Language
 1.5 The Structure of This Book
 1.6 Outline of Chapters
2 Mapping the Discourse on Religion in Russia
 2.1 Official Religious Institutions Vis-à-Vis the State
 2.2 The Many Faces of Russia’s Orthodox Christianity
 2.3 Competing Definitions of the Tatar Islam
 2.4 Conclusion

The Russian Language of Islam

3 Translating Islam into the Language of the Russian State and the ROC
 3.1 Data and Method
 3.2 Lexical Aspects
 3.3 Textual Structures
 3.4 Conclusion
4 Discursive Strategies in Conversion Narratives of Russian Muslims
 4.1 Conversion to Islam in the Post-Soviet Period
 4.2 Discursive Strategies in Conversion Narratives
 4.3 Conclusion
5 Envisioning a Russian(-Speaking) Umma
 5.1 Ali Viacheslav Polosin: Biography and Conversion
 5.2 Islam as a Liberal State Ideology (2000-2006)
 5.3 The Path of Moderation (2007-2015)
 5.4 Defining the “Right” Muslims (2016-Present)
 5.5 Conclusion

The Tatar Language of Christianity

6 Daniil Sysoev: Mission and Martyrdom
 6.1 The Making of a Saint
 6.2 Uranopolitism versus Patriotism
 6.3 Evangelism among Muslims
 6.4 Conclusion
7 From Religious to Ethnic Minority: Discourses on Kräshens
 7.1 Constructing the Other: Imperial and Soviet Policies
 7.2 Kräshen Ethnic Identity in the Post-Soviet Period
 7.3 Alternative Christianity
 7.4 Conclusion
8 Battle of the Books: Tatar Translations of the New Testament
 8.1 Translation Projects
 8.2 Translation Strategies
 8.3 Non-Orthodox Christian Communities Using Tatar
 8.4 Conclusion
9 Conclusions
 9.1 Convergence in the “Traditionalism” Box
 9.2 Language as a Mirror
 9.3 Toward a Painful Merger
 9.4 Language, Religion and Translation: Negotiating the Difference
All interested in Muslim-Christian relations in Russia, as well as sociolinguists concerned with functions of religious languages and transformations of Russian and Tatar in the post-Soviet period.