MIDEAST 418 / RUSSIAN 418 / ISLAM 418 / REES 418: Islam in/and Russia

Alexander Knysh, University of Michigan
Daria Ulanova, Saint Petersburgh State University
Anna Matochkina, Saint Petersburgh State University
Leila Almazova, Kazan Federal University

Term: Fall 2018

Students from three universities, Saint Petersburg State University, Kazan Federal University and the University of Michigan have joined together to study the complex and ambivalent relationship between Russia’s state officials and Christians, on the one hand, and the Muslims communities inside Russia and along Russia’s borders, on the other. They discuss mutual perceptions of the two sides and how they have shaped the respective identities of the Russians and Muslims living under the “infidel” rule of the Russian imperial state, the Soviet Union and now the Russian Federal state that emphasizes its Christian heritage and abiding commitment to Christian values. 

Key aspects

  • Readings for the class are mostly in English with parallel Russian texts provided as well for Russian speakers as well as learners.
  • Small international teams meet weekly outside of class and prepare answers to questions for in-class discussion of assigned readings.  Students use communication tools of their choice.
  • Faculty from each institution and guest speakers give short lectures followed by general discussion.
  • Students work in small international teams of 3-4 oputside of class to prepare a presentation on a topic of their choice.
  • Class discussions are conducted in English, with translation into or from Russian and Arabic when necessary.