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The Muslim in Russia

Sibelan Forrester - Swarthmore College - Fall 2012

Department Overview

What do we know about Russia's relationship to Islam - the religion of many of its neighbors, and indeed of many citizens of Russia? Some famous Russian cultural figures have quite Muslim-sounding names: Modernist poet Anna Akhmatova, composer Sergei Rakhmaninov, even Nikolai Chernyshevsky's ideal nineteenth-century revolutionary, Rakhmetov, who hardened himself by sleeping on a bed of nails. Despite this, the long and strong relationship of Russia and Islam has been neglected in scholarship until recently.

This new course will examine texts spanning more than a thousand years, to elicit the actual interactions of Russians and Muslims, images of Muslims in Russian literature (and a few Muslim images of Russia), the place of Muslim writers in Soviet literature, and the current position of Muslims in Russia and in Russian discourse.

Photo by Gorsky
Photo by Gorsky
Photo by Gorsky
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