WiP: “South Caucasian Muslim Communities under Russian Imperial Rule in the 19th Century”

CRRC and ARISC are pleased to announce the 9th talk of the Spring 2024 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!

“South Caucasian Muslim Communities under Russian Imperial Rule in the 19th Century”

Evgeniya Prusskaya, Ilia State University

Despite the rich scholarship on Muslim realms of the Russian empire and Russian imperial politics towards Islam published in recent decades, only a few works have focused on the South Caucasus. This talk will specifically discuss the lives and trans-imperial connections of Muslim communities in the south Caucasian borderlands and the specifics of Russian imperial approaches towards them.

While the Russian border with neighboring Islamic Ottoman and Persian empires shifted several times throughout the century as a result of Russian expansion, Tsarist officials faced the necessity of governing many former Ottoman and Qajar subjects. South Caucasian Muslim communities that fell under Russian rule maintained strong social and religious connections across borders and included both Sunnis and Shiites, dispersed in different provinces. All these factors, along with the continuous war in the North Caucasus and rivalry with the Ottoman and Persian empires, influenced the Tsarist administration’s politics towards Muslims in the South Caucasus. At the same time, local Muslim inhabitants exploited inter-imperial tensions for their own purposes.

Evgeniya Prusskaya is a visiting researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of Ilia State University. Her PhD and first book in Russian were devoted to the mutual perceptions of the French and the indigenous inhabitants of Egypt during Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt, and she has since been working on French Algeria. Her current research project deals with the transimperial history of the Caucasian Muslim communities and the comparative history of French Algeria and the Caucasus under Russian rule in the age of empires.

Works-in-Progress is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at Chavchavadze Ave. 5 and online. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.

In observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule, the talks will not be recorded, and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing recordings as well. The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC or ARISC.