Historical and Cultural Experience of Islam in Central Asia

  • Authors: Seung-jo Yang, Young Hoon Son, Ka Young Ko, Won-kyo Oh, Eun Kyung Oh, A-Young Choi, Sangcheol Kim
  • Editor: Beomshik Shin
  • Publication Date: October/ 2019
  • Publisher: Zininzin

A study on the history and culture of Islam as an important strand in the steppes of Central Asia, Historical and Cultural Experience of Islam in Central Asia has been published as the 26th book in the SNU Asian Studies in a Global Context Series. Along with another recent publication, the book is a result of a 2-year-long research that SNUAC Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies executed from 2015 to 2017, under the topic ‘Historical experience and current choices of Islam in Central Asia’, and presents a new prospect in Islam and Central Asian studies in Korea.

Historical and Cultural Experience of Islam in Central Asia comprises of nine papers written by eight experts on Central Asia and Islam. Prof. Beomshik Shin (SNU Dept. of Political Science & International Relations), the director of SNUAC Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies who led this research, wrote the introduction to this book. Section 1 has five papers on the history of Islam in Central Asia from the era of Russian Empire to the Soviet rule, while section 2 is comprisd of four research papers on the Islamic culture and education in modern Central Asia.

Chapters 1 and 2 are research papers on the policy of Russian Empire toward Islam and the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly (OMDS). The papers explored the historical process of the policy toward Islam as Russian Empire expanded the territory to Central Asia, and described in detail the establishment, development and decline of the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly which was at the center of the policy.

Chapter 3, written by Prof. Young Hoon Son of Dept. of Central Asia Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, introduces the Jadid movement as a response of the Islam community in Central Asia against the rule of Russian Empire.

Chapters 4 and 5, by Prof. Ka Young Ko of Institute of History and Culture at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies deal with the historical process of policy toward Islam in the Soviet rule after the Russian revolution and the response from the Islamic world in Central Asia.

Chapter 6, by Prof. Eun Kyung Oh, director of Institute of Eurasian and Turkic Studies at Dongduk Women’s University, presents the aspects and prospects of Islam in Uzbekistan through a specific in-depth analysis.

Chapter 7, written by Prof. Won-kyo Oh of Institute for Russian and Altaic Studies at Chungbuk National University, is on the proliferation of Islam in the Turkic world of Central Asia and Sufism, and explores the role of ‘Sufis’ in the Islam of Turkish people which builds up another axis of the Islamic civilization along with the Arabic world.

Chapter 8 is written by A-Young Choi, researcher at SNUAC Center for Eurasian and Central Asian Studies, on the analysis of Islamic narratives in the history textbooks of Uzbekistan, examining how the history textbooks of Uzbekistan as a secular state based on the separation principle of religion and state delivers Islam. The paper illuminates how the textbooks describe the return to Islam after the dissolution of the Soviet not as a ‘religious revival’ but a ‘resurrection of tradition’.

The last chapter, chapter 9, is on the system of Islamic religious affairs and education in Kazakhstan. It describes how the Islamic community that existed before the Central Asia was divided into current states passed through historical changes and established a cultural identity around the Muslim Spiritual Assembly in Tashkent. It was contributed by Prof. Sangcheol Kim of Institute of Central Asian Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.