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Call for Applications: The Archives of Islam in the Russian Empire (16th-early 20th Centuries)

The summer school is designed to explore a range of scholarly approaches to the hermeneutics of records and the formation of archives on Islam in the territories of the former Russian Empire in the early modern and modern period.

Here the term “archive” is used in a broad and all-encompassing sense, which includes all possible activities of record-keeping. The goal of this initiative is to draw attention on practices of information-gathering and knowledge production on the Muslim communities inhabiting the vast area encompassing Inner Asia, Siberia, Central Asia and the Caucasus from the fall of the Khanate of Kazan (1552) to the end of the Russian Empire. In addition, by bringing archival science into conversation with Russian and Islamic studies, the summer school promotes an extended reflection on the institutions and the individuals (archivists, historians, Orientalists, dragomans, and go-betweens of all walks of life) who played a significant role in the creation of the imperial repositories that today preserve records about Islam and Muslim communities in Central Eurasia.

By offering hands-on reading sessions and masterclasses, which are based on material in Russian, Church Slavonic, Eastern Turkic (Tatar and Chaghatay), and Ottoman Turkish, the summer school offers a wide range of activities to familiarize students with writing, documentary, and archival practices in Tsarist-ruled Central Eurasia. Reading sessions will offer ample room for practical exercises in the fields of palaeography and diplomatics. Special attention will be given to records crafted in Cyrillic handwriting (including skoropis) as well as in the Arabic script.

The ideal target of the summer school is a group of max. 10/12 graduate students.

The basic requirement is knowledge of Russian and one Turkic language and willingness to work with records in manuscript form.

The programme of the initiative is a combination of

Reading sessions: faculty members and students read documents and discuss aspects of palaeography and diplomatics, as well as well as practices of filing, preservation, and creation of archives;

Lectures: faculty members offer master-classes in which they reflect on the challenges and the potentials of working in and with records on Islam now preserved in the archives of the former Russian Empire.

Important Data

Convenor: Dr. Paolo Sartori / Committee for the Study of Islam in Central Eurasia (ÖAW)

Date: June 27-July 1, 2022 (max. 10/12 students)
Venue: Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
Deadline: 28 February 2022


Applicants are required to submit a CV, a motivation letter, and a letter of recommendation to paolo.sartori(at)oeaw.ac.at

The language of instruction is English. Non-native speakers are required to have a command of English equivalent to at least TOEFL 550.

Reading knowledge of Russian and one Turkic language (Ottoman Turkish, Tatar, or Eastern Turkic/Chaghatay) is required.

Deadline: February 28 2022

The organisers will cover participants’ tuition costs, as well as hotel accommodation and lunches for the duration of the course. We will also subsidize travel costs, providing up to a maximum of $500 for travel from within Europe and $850 for travel from further afield. Once selected, participants will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements, and can claim reimbursement upon arrival in Vienna. Selected participants will be required by May 1 2022 to provide documentation showing that they have purchased the necessary flight or travel tickets; anyone failing to observe this commitment will be removed from the course.

About Ali Teymoori

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