Reform and Revolution: Discourses of Modernity in Late Imperial Russia and Beyond

Friday, April 7, 2017
9:30am - 5:30pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join us for this international workshop, organized by Gulnar Kendirbai.

The centenary of the Russian Revolution provides an opportunity to revisit the advent of Russian modernity as it spanned a wide spectrum of social groups, including enlightened bureaucrats, colonial administrators, political exiles, orientalists and literati, as well as students, women and other educated segments of Russian society. Discourses of modernity stemming from the late imperial period, to which members of these groups contributed, strongly resonated with their successors who operated in the early decades of the Soviet regime.

The workshop brings scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss various groups of Russian imperial society, whose members strongly resonated with the advent of modernity in late imperial Russia, including the Muslim/Jadid reformists. A multifaceted exploration of Russian modernity and its repercussions has been gaining in significance in our time, as we witness the growing alienation between Russia and the West, on the one hand, and the repeated explosions of Islamic militant extremism and fanaticism, on the other. 

You can read a summary of the conference, prepared by Professor Kendirbai, attached at the bottom of this announcement.


9:30am -10:00am Keynote address by Catherine Evtuhov (History Department/Harriman Institute, Columbia University)


10:00am -12:00pm Panel I: Challenges of Empire and Modernity

Chair & Discussant: Nathaniel Knight (Seton Hall University, New Jersey)

Gulnar Kendirbai (Harriman Institute/History Department, Columbia University)
Viewing Modernity Through the Prism of Empire: the Kazak Khan Jangir (1815-45) and Russia

Natalia Suvorova (Omsk State University, Russia)
The System of Nikolai Il’minsky in the Estimation of Imperial Experts

Svetlana Mulina (Omsk State University, Russia)
The Asian Periphery of Soviet Russia in the Mirror of the Polish Prometheism


Lunch break 12:00pm -1:00pm


1:00pm Welcoming remarks by Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute


1:15 pm – 3:15 pm Panel II: Russian, Ottoman and Other Connections

Chair & Discussant Rune Steenberg (Harriman Institute, Columbia University)

Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular (State University of New York at Old Westbury)
Empires and their Muslims: Bosnian Intellectuals and Muslim Modernist Networks in Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires

Ozan Ozavci (Utrecht University / l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales)
Empire, Security and Expressions of ‘Modernity’ in the Russian Caucasus: The Difai Movement (1905--‐6)

Tatiana Saburova (Indiana University Bloomington, Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
“Old Turkey and the Young Turks”: The Turkish Path to Modernity in the Russian Liberal Vision


Coffee break: 3:15pm - 3:30pm


3:30pm – 5:30pm Panel III: Reform and Revolution in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Chair & Discussant: Peter Sinnott (Independent scholar)

Sergei Abashin (European University of St. Petersburg, Russia)
Kurbashi: Between Empire, Revolution and a Local Community

Victoria Clement (Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington)
Classrooms and Community: Turkmen and Early 20th Century Social Reform

Kelsey Rice (University of Pennsylvania)
Exporting Azeri Modernism: Cultural Outreach in Iran and Central Asia, 1906-1923