Reviews

B. Babadjanov is the foremost scholar of Islamic movements in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia, working with unique access to primary sources and a solid training in Islamic studies.  Here, he provides an overview of his extensive œuvre on religious debate and activism in Uzbek society of the last several decades: the theological modernism of SADUM, the official Soviet institution of Islam; the conservative traditionalists of the hujra milieu; and the Salafi revolt against them; and the appearance of new, non- or anti-Hanafi movements after independence.  We also find a good overview of the independent Uzbek state’s dealings with various expressions of Islam.  As with much of his other work, one is struck by how Babadjanov, despite his attempts at placing the Uzbek case in a broad comparative framework, takes for granted much of what is specifically Soviet about Central Asia’s experience.  The massive Soviet assault on the infrastructure of Islam between 1927 and 1941 is dealt with, off the cuff, in four lines (p. 1142)!  Yet, arguably this assault, which led to a great deal of destruction, makes Central Asia different from most other parts of the world of Islam and imparts on its religious life a peculiar dynamic, and should be central to any discussion of Islamic activism in post-Soviet space.

Adeeb Khalid, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
CER: I-8.4.G-748