Contemporary Islam

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 161–183 | Cite as

The modernity of premodern Islam in contemporary Daghestan

  • Rebecca GouldEmail author


This ethnographic essay investigates the relations between past and present forms of Islam in the north Caucasian Republic of Daghestan. Conversations culled from fieldwork in Daghestani urban and rural spaces are used to elucidate the cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity of life in this region. Ethnographies in a bookstore, a shrine to the Imam Shamil, and a scholarly archive in Makhachkala unfold against the historical background of Daghestan’s long-standing encounter with the Arabo-Islamic world. The essay explores how the post-Soviet turn to post-secular Islam represents an alternative to colonialism and a new way of making meaning in the present. It is intended as a contribution to Islamic studies, modernity theory, and post-Soviet Union area studies.


Daghestan Arabic in the Caucasus Wahhābī Islam Russo-Chechen War modernity 


Supplementary material

11562_2010_146_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.1 mb)
Appendix 1 (DOC 4216 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia University Middle East, South Asian, & African StudiesNew YorkUSA

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