Reviews

On the basis of Russian official texts of the 1900s-1910s, and contemporary essays by Turkic-writing intellectuals of the Volga-Ural region, the author of this short synthetic study tries to situate in the decade prior to the revolutions of 1917 date the adoption of the “Tatar” ethnic denomination in place of the older “Bulghar” and “Muslim” ones—stressing the role played in this process by a nascent secularised intelligentsia.  Answering to the thesis advanced by the Turkish historian Ahmet Kanlıdere (Reform within Islam: The Tajdid and Jadid Movement among the Kazan Tatars, 1809-1917, Istanbul, 1997), on the diffusion of the “Tatar” denomination only after 1917, D. Iskhakov retraces the debates on the adoption of a single denomination among nineteenth-century Kazan historians, notably through Marjani’s Mustafadh al-akhbar fi ahwal Qazan wa Bulghar, and in the early-twentieth-century press of the Volga-Ural region, for assessing the pioneering position of intellectuals in the vernacular society.  Unfortunately, as it is often the case in studies of the national issue through primary texts in vernacular languages, the categories used by Marjani and his epigones are not interpreted according to the legal framework of their time, which drives the author to deliver strongly teleological interpretations.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.2.C-210