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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Remembering the Neoliberal Turn: Economic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989

Gökarıksel S., Gontarska O., Hilmar T. et al.

L.: Routledge, 2023.

Сholera Riots in Staraia Russa in 1831. People and the Authorities: Actions, Motives, Concerns
In press

Belan M.

Slavonic and East European Review. 2024. Vol. 102. No. 2.

Book chapter
The Stolbovo Treaty and Tracing the Border in Ingria in 1617–1618

Adrian Selin.

In bk.: Sweden, Russia, and the 1617 Peace of Stolbovo. Vol. 14. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2024. P. 99-118.

Working paper
The Image of the Past in Ciro Spontone’s ‘Historia Della Transilvania’

Khvalkov E., Levin F., Кузнецова А. Д.

Working Papers of Humanities. WP. Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021

Actual Issues of Studying History of Islam

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Compulsory course
2 year, 4 module


Tikhonova, Nadezhda

Tikhonova, Nadezhda

Course Syllabus


The course aims to investigate the main tendencies, theories, and methods of modern Islamic studies, to elaborate with the students some of the most important sources on the history of Islam and its study in Europe, the USA and Russia, considering the knowledge and skills acquired by students while studying courses on global and Russian history in the frames of the bachelor's programme. Conceptually, it is based upon the ideas of postcolonial theory and the new imperial history. The course examines the intellectual and social history of Islam, its changing discourses, ritual and social networks and practices, the perception of Islam in non-Muslim societies. The subject covers: (1) the re-evaluation of the heritage of Islamic studies of the colonial era, (2) the main topics of postcolonial Islamic studies, (3) the prospects for possible further research, with respect to available sources in English and other European languages (optional: Russian, German, French, Italian). This three-part structure determines the content of each of the main thematic units. Chronologically, the course is primarily limited to the 18th-21st centuries, namely, the colonial and postcolonial eras. Geographically, it covers cases both in the center (Middle East) and on the periphery of the Muslim world, which turned out to be a part of or on the frontier of colonial empires (Caucasus, Volga region, North Africa, Indonesia).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to introduce students to Islamic studies as a special part of humanities, which combines Asian studies, national, and global history
  • to analyze with students the main tendencies, theories, and methods of modern Islamic studies
  • to analyze some of the most important sources on the history of Islam and on its study in Europe, the USA and Russia, considering the knowledge and skills acquired by students while studying the courses on global and Russian history in the frames of the bachelor's programme. Conceptually the subject is based upon the ideas of postcolonial theory and the new imperial history
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Acquaintance with the history of the early Islam, its main concepts and key terms
  • Acquaintance with the main schools of Islamic studies, their critical review in postcolonial theory, discussions about the main trajectory of the subject in the modern world
  • Visualization of Islam as a problem of historical research. The main approaches and methods of studying Islam and Muslim communities. Acquaintance with the concept of Orientalism and its main critics
  • Consistent understanding and distinction of the concepts of the Muslim spiritual elite (ulama) and the clergy in the history of Islam, including categories, specialization, social functions of ulama
  • Acquaintance with transnational web of hajj pilgrimage and its role in the context of imperialism
  • Ability to properly apply modern methods for analyzing sources on Islamic reformism
  • Understanding of the ambiguous approaches towards women in Islam. Acquaintance with the intra-Muslim debates on the topic of Islamic feminism
  • Acquaintance with the main approaches to the history of Russian Islam
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • 1. Introduction. Islam and its early history.
  • 2. A history of the Islamic studies in Russia and abroad.
  • 3. Islam in Oriental studies and Orientalism.
  • 4. Muslim spiritual elite ('ulama') in the service of colonial empires.
  • 5. Transnational web of hajj pilgrimage in the context of imperialism.
  • 6. Social history of Islamic reformism.
  • 7. Personality and gender in Islam. Islamic feminism.
  • 8. Islam in the Russian Empire and USSR.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking personal presentations on the topic
    Each student will be once appointed to prepare a short presentation on the topic of the upcoming seminar. At the beginning of the seminar, this student gives the comments on the text, talk about the author of the text, evaluate his place in historiography. Afterwards this student asks his groupmates the questions about the content of the text, comments on their answers and encourages the discussion.
  • non-blocking participation in seminars
    Before every seminar, the whole group should read the text enlisted in the basic literature (V=25 pages). During the seminar students discuss this text, answer the questions preliminarily prepared by the teacher or volunteers among students, ask their own questions, and comment the text.
  • non-blocking final exam
    Written essay. The final essay should be written on one of the subjects discussed i n the seminars. The teacher will assign each student a personal essay topic according to the list of the discussed subjects. Students will be introduced to the list and assigned to the topic at the last seminar. The essay volume should be 1000-1500 words (±150 words). The essay should contain references to the historiography on the topic. No copying or plagiarism is allowed. There will be 14 days to complete and submit the final essay. For each day after the deadline for submitting an essay, 1 point will be deducted. The results will be announced in 7-10 days after the deadline for submission.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 4th module
    0.25 * personal presentations on the topic + 0.25 * participation in seminars + 0.5 * final exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Islam and the Infidels The Politics of Jihad, Da’Wah, and Hijrah, Bukay, D., 2017
  • Jihad : a history in documents, Peters, R., 2016
  • Jihadism : past and present, Mohanty, N., 2018
  • Kemper, M. (2005). ’Adat against Shari’a: Russian Approaches toward Daghestani “Customary Law” in the 19Th Century. Ab Imperio, (3), 147–174. https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2005.0086
  • RB. (2017). The Cambridge History of Islam (1977). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.B6641E90

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Hany Moubarez. (2020). Arabic and Islamic Philosophy and Sciences: Method and Truth. Studia Humana, 9(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.2478/sh-2020-0001
  • Leaman, O. (2002). An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy: Vol. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press.