The Muslim Question and Russian Imperial Governance

The Muslim Question and Russian Imperial Governance

Elena I. Campbell
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/26/2015
Format: Hardback 10 b&w illus., 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-01446-7
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


From the time of the Crimean War through the fall of the Tsar, the question of what to do about the Russian empire's large Muslim population was a highly contested issue among educated Russians both inside and outside the government. As formulated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Muslim Question comprised a complex set of ideas and concerns that centered on the problems of reimagining and governing the tremendously diverse Russian empire in the face of the challenges presented by the modernizing world. Basing her analysis on extensive research in archival and primary sources, Elena I. Campbell reconstructs the issues, debates, and personalities that shaped the development of Russian policies toward the empire's Muslims and the impact of the Muslim Question on the modernizing path that Russia would follow.

Author Bio

Elena I. Campbell is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington.


“I was struck in reading Campbell's work how much Russia's 'Muslim Question' remains a pressing contemporary issue. In addition to being a major contribution to the history of nationality, religious identity, and governance in late imperial Russia, Campbell's book, by implication, offers a better understanding of the analogous issues in the contemporary world.”
 — William G. Rosenberg, co-author (with Francis X. Blouin, Jr.) of Processing the Past: Contesting Authority in History and

“This fine book is particularly recommended for courses on comparative empires, Muslims in world history, and European imperialism.”
 — Review of Middle East Studies

“For someone whose native language is not English, [Campbell's] prose is remarkably clear, and she makes a major contribution to the understanding of Russia’s 'Muslim Question'—past and present. . . . Recommended.”

“Campbell’s book shows how profound official Islamophobia paradoxically led to the preservation of earlier confessional structures, grudging non-interference with the spiritual and social life of most Muslim communities, a restraining hand on the actions (if not the rhetoric) of Orthodox missionaries, and a certain uneasy toleration.”
 — Slavonic and East European Review

“While Campbell’s study covers mostly well-trodden ground, she provides an engaging and enlightening synthesis which significantly supplements, compliments, and at times challenges existing scholarship. She pulls together a tight, lucid, and well-structured study anchored firmly in multiple archival, primary and secondary sources.”
 — Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

“While this volume covers mostly familiar ground with respect to developments taking place between Muslims and state officials in imperial Russia, Campbell’s extensive use of state archival sources adds new source-based material to discussions of this subject. As such, The Muslim Question should constitute necessary reading for anyone interested in issues pertaining to Muslims in imperial Russia.”
 — Russian Review

“Readable, original, and endlessly interesting, Campbell’s book deserves the very highest praise.”
 — Journal of Islamic Studies

“The Muslim Question's thoroughness and its unique focus make it a fruitful resource ideally suited to advanced undergraduates and to graduate students.”
 — Religiious Studies Review

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Understanding the "Muslim Question" and Its Changing Contexts

Part I. The Emergence of the Muslim Question
1. The Crimean War and Its Aftermath: The Question of Muslim Loyalty and Alienation
2. The Challenges of Apostasy to Islam
3. "What do we need from Muslims?" Combating Ignorance, Alienation, and Tatarization
4. "In Asia we come as Masters:" The Challenge of the Civilizing Mission in Turkestan
5. Dilemmas of Regulation and Rapprochement: The Problem of Muslim Religious Institutions

Part II. The Muslim Question during the Era of Mass Politics
6. Challenges of Revolution and Reform
7. The Muslim Question in the Aftermath of the Revolution
8. "Solving" the Muslim Question
9. World War I

Conclusion: Could the Muslim Question Have Been Solved?


Related Titles