Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies

EAST: Islam and National Identities in Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus


Michael Kemper


Dr Alfrid Bustanov (Eastern European Studies)

Sara Crombach (AiO Eastern European Studies)

Dr Dina Fainberg (UD Eastern European Studies)

Danis Garaev (AiO Eastern European Studies)

Hanna Jansen (AiO Eastern European Studies)

Dr Artemy Kalinovsky (UD Eastern European Studies)

Prof. Michael Kemper (Eastern European Studies)

Dr. Christian Noack (UHD Eastern European Studies)


EAST is meant as a bridge between (Eastern) European Studies, Islamic/Middle Eastern Studies, and Slavic Studies. The group comprises several ongoing projects with external funding and has a strong track record of past projects; it enjoys excellent international visibility (with major partners in Kazan, Makhachkala, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Dushanbe, and in the US, France, Switzerland, and Germany).

Focus areas are:

  1. The History of Soviet and Russian Oriental Studies: How has Islam been studied in the USSR, and in Russia today? How can Soviet/Russian "Orientology" be integrated into the broader debate on Orientalism? (N.W.O. Free Competition, 2009-2014, Kemper with S.A. Dudoignon, Paris; 2 AiOs; second volume to appear soon).
  2. The Transformation of Muslim Cultural and Political Identities in the Soviet Union: How have Muslim national and religious identities been transformed in the USSR and in the post-Soviet area? (ongoing VENI Kalinovsky; Noack).
  3. Islamic Manuscripts from Tatarstan, Daghestan, Western Siberia: identification, study and edition of Arabic and Tatar manuscripts (Kemper, Bustanov).
  4. Islamic Communities in the Soviet Union and its Successor States: International projects on the survival and re-emergence of Islamic education and Islamic rural communities in the USSR and thereafter (Noack, Kemper in international cooperation).
  5. Islam and the Russian Language: A study of the Islamization of the Russian language and the emergence of an “Islamo-Russian sociolect” (N.W.O. Free Competition, 2014-2019, Kemper with Jos Schaeken, UL, 2 AiOs).
  6. Soviet Subjectivities, including the concept of "stagnation" in the late USSR (conference volume in preparation; Fainberg/Kalinovsky).

The group has its public lecture series (Th. 17.00-18.00, bi-weekly), called EAST (Europe-Asia Study Table), at UvA's European Studies Department, in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Leiden.

Some recent publications

Allah’s Kolkhozes. Migration, De-Stalinisation, Privatisation and the New Muslim congregations in the Soviet Realm (1950s-2000s), ed. by S.A. Dudoignon and C. Noack (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 2014).

Repression - Anpassung – Neuorientierung. Studien zum Islam in der Sowjetunion und dem postsowjetischen Raum, ed. by Raoul Motika, Michael Kemper, Anke von Kügelgen (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2013).

Alfrid K. Bustanov, Knizhnaia kul’tura sibirskikh musul’man [ The Book Culture of Siberian Muslims] (Moscow: Mardzhani, 2013).

Artemy M. Kalinovsky, “Not Some British Colony in Africa: The Politics of Decolonization and Modernization in Soviet Central Asia, 1955-1964,” Ab Imperio 2 (2013), 191-222.


Published by  Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies

19 November 2015