Traditional and Modern Culture of the Volga-Tatar
Indiana University, Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University
Indiana University’s Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) is pleased to announce the publication of a multimedia e-book in Tatar, Russian, and English versions, providing a unique survey of Tatar-Muslim Culture of the Volga Region. The project was made possible by the international collaboration between the Center and Kazan Federal University (KFU) in Tatarstan, Russia. Special thanks go to Dr. Mary Goetze, IU professor emerita, and Dr. Leila Almazova, docent at the Institute for International Relations, History, and Oriental Studies at KFU, who together coordinated the participation of a team of specialists in Tatarstan, gathered authentic cultural photographs and videos, and prepared the texts in the three linguistic versions. Edward J. Lazzerini, director of the IAUNRC, provided the inspiration for the project and also wrote the introductory chapter laying out a brief history of the Volga Tatars. The Center’s assistant director, Kasia Rydel-Johnston, handled all of the financial and other paperwork needed to underwrite the project’s expenses. Finally, Dr. Kristen Bellisario provided the technical expertise required for producing the actual ebooks in three different languages.
The project’s special character consists in its insistence on viewing Tatar culture as a synthesis of its historical development with its strong religious base—Islam. Reaching Central Eurasia by the early tenth century, Islam adapted to local conditions as they evolved over the next millennium. Developing largely in the alien, non-Islamic environment shaped by the Orthodox Christianity of Russian culture, Islamic theology among the Tatars had to face sensitive issues: Within an Orthodox Christian state, how should Muslims, a religious minority, shape their lives according to Islamic canons? How should they interact with members of other faiths? Is it possible to adopt the cultural traditions of non-Muslim peoples? How should one view music or painting from the point of view of Islam?
One sign of the spiritual strength of a people is its openness to external influences by which culture can select new elements for itself while at the same time preserving its distinctiveness. This is how we may consider contemporary Tatar culture. As an example, we may point to Tatar adoption of the traditions of European symphonic music and the latter’s integration with the Tatar national sound. At the same time, ancient layers of Islamic art, such as the tradition of “book singing” or the “shamail” maintain a living presence in modern Tatar society. Likewise, Tatar architecture combines features of both eastern cities, with their mosques and cupolas, and those of high-tech landscapes.
The book, available in Russian, Tatar, and English editions, will include a full range of multimedia features employing audio and video elements to enhance the text. Financial support for the project came from US Title VI programing, the Denis Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University, and from the Russian Ministry of Culture.
CESS Regional Conference 2016
CESS, Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University
The Central Eurasian Studies Society hold its Fifth Regional Conference hosted by Kazan Federal University (http://kpfu.ru/eng) in Tatarstan, the Russian Federation, on 2-4 June 2016.
Muslim Intellectual Response to the Challenge of Modernity
The research was aimed at the examination of the specificities of the Islamic concepts elaborated in the Central Russia including Nizhni-Novgorod region, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in the context of the development of the philosophic thought in the Muslim world.
Islamic Education in Post-Soviet Tatarstan
Algarysh Foundation (Tatarstan)
The goal of my research project is to explore the complex of ideological constructs among Volga-Ural Muslims in Post-Soviet period. In the process of research I am planning to analyze social-historical context of new ideologies, their roots, main actors and religious institutions they represent, goals of each leader, content of religious constructs and spheres of influence. Special attention will be devoted to the assessment of state religious policy towards Islam. This approach will hopefully allow us to understand the logic of Islamic ideology development in Volga-Ural region and help to predict tendencies of its evolution in future.