The research is supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation, project №16-18-10083

Abstract. The article deals with the study of Islam and Arab-Muslim culture in Russia on the cusp of the 19th – 20th centuries. This time is characterized by the emergence of Oriental Studies as a science and attempts to define the purposes and objectives of the discipline. Interest to the East was primarily associated with foreign and domestic policy of the Russian Empire, in particular military campaigns directed towards conquest of the North Caucasus and Central Asia, wars with the Ottoman Empire and Iran, diplomatic and intelligence missions, protection of pilgrims and the Orthodox revival in the Holy Land, and conversion of Muslims living in the territory of the Russian Empire to Christianity. However, along with the practical interest and the missionary Oriental studies relation to it, it was an active development of the academic, secular Oriental studies that sought to achieve an ideologically neutral, scientific knowledge. The representatives of this direction were guided by European orientalists, borrowing their methodology and conceptual apparatus, but at the same time trying to abandon the Eurocentric approach and to create a special view on the relationship between the Russian Empire and the East, due to the proximity of the latter and the presence of its own Muslim population. Each of the directions is represented by the excerpts from works of orientalists, allowing better understanding of the specifics of approaches to the study of Islam in this period. A detailed study of works of both secular scholars and orientalists-missionaries allows speaking about the important scientific value of not only the academic works, but also works of missionaries, who quite often overcame the tendentiousness caused by tasks set for them and collected very perceptive material.

Key words: Oriental Studies, Islamic Studies, Study of Islam, approaches to Islamic Studies, cusp of the 19th – 20th centuries.

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2017.2.107-119

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About the author


Anna I. Matochkina – PhD (Philosophy), Senior Lecturer at the Department of Oriental Philosophy and Cultural Science, St. Petersburg State University;

5 Mendeleevskaya liniya, St. Petersburg, Russia, 199034; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.