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University of Amsterdam

Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

Islamic Reformism and the Bolshevik Revolution in Daghestan, 1917-1928


This thesis deals with a period of uncertainties and difficulties that characterized the period of transition from imperial Russia to the Soviet Union. To switch attention from the well-studied metropolis, the project proposes to investigate the situation in Daghestan where major Muslim intellectuals experimented with combinations of Islam and socialist ideas. They thereby built on the local and international projects of Islamic reformism, and integrated Islamic ideas of 'progress' with the discourse of the Bolsheviks. Their narrative on issues of Islamic education, language, Islamic law and state-building are juxtaposed to not only to the Soviet discourses but also to Daghestani authorities who rejected the Socialist projects. The research is based on the Daghestani Arab-language primary sources rarely ever taken seriously by the existing scholarship.

Naira Sahakyan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies at the Faculty of the Humanities, the University of Amsterdam.  She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Arabic Studies from the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Yerevan State University. From 2016, she was studying in the History Department of the European University at Saint Petersburg, Russia. During the 2018 Fall quarter, Naira was a VISIT intern at The Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies.

2018: “Новый язык историографии Гражданской войны и место в ней книги Г.И. Какагасанова ´Узун-Хаджи Салтинский – политический и религиозный деятель Дагестана и Чечни´“. История, археология и этнография Кавказа, vol. 14, no. 3, 2018, pp. 150-153. DOI:10.24411/2618-6772-2018-13012

2018: “Language debate and the visions of future in Revolutionary Dagestan,” Caucasus Survey, Routledge

2018: Review of Writers and Rebels: “The literature of insurgency in the Caucasus” by Rebecca Gould, Caucasus Survey, Routledge, June 2017, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2018, pp. 81-83

back to list FELLOWS 2018