Seleznev A. G. Islam in Siberia: Some Trends of Anthropological Study

Alexander G. SELEZNEV — Candidate of Historical Sciences, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences; Dostoevsky Omsk State University (Omsk, Russia)

E-mail: seleznev@myttk.ru

    

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ISLAM IN SIBERIA: SOME TRENDS OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY 

ABSTRACT. The turn of the twenty first century was marked by rapid growth of research interest to the phenomenon of Siberian Islam. The paper discusses some trends in the anthropological studies of this issue. Muslim religious culture in Siberia developed on the basis of syncretistic, regional or “popular” variation of Islam. The cult of saints appears to be the most remarkable manifestation of this Siberian form of Islam. Astana holy places, the center piece of this cult, demonstrate the connection of Siberia with other parts of the Islamic world. Special attention is paid to the transformation of the holy tombs inspectors institute. This institute serves as an important mechanism for the formation of religious elites. The paper discusses the rise of women role in the functioning of this institute, as well as the phenomenon of book culture of Siberian Muslims and the tradition of creation and ritual usage of local Islamic religious texts. Actualization and “discovery” of the holy places, strengthening of the role of religious elites, including inspectors of the holy tombs, and sacralization of hand-written and old printed religious books are considered as factors which contributed to the formation of the Islamic religious identity in Siberia. 

Empirical data from Siberia correspond quite well with the constructionist (anti-essentialist) model of the development of a social (which also includes religious) mind. The formation of a certain monolithic religious discourse is essentially impossible within societies with such ideology. However, the religious factor acts as a convenient instrument of national construction and legitimization of elites 

KEYWORDS: anthropology of Islam, Siberia, cult of saints in Islam, Islamic religious elites, Islamic astana complexes, Islamic texts, religious identity

 

УДК 297.17(571.1/.5) 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2018-2-160-187 

 

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