News and Announcements

Recommencement of Webinars with the University of Michigan

Since September 11, the weekly webinars have resumed with the University of Michigan. During the classes, bachelor students and graduate students of St. Petersburg State University, including whose who study at the program for training specialists with in-depth study of the history and culture of Islam discuss with their American counterparts the development of Muslim mysticism (Sufism). As in the past academic year, classes are held under the guidance of Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Michigan, the Head of the Research Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Social Processes, Alexander D. Knysh.

The first meetings were devoted to the influence of the ideas of Neo-Platonism on the development of Islamic mysticism and the role of Sufism in the modern world. During the fruitful discussion held in an open setting, various problems of the genesis of mystical ideas in Islam, the relationship between asceticism and mysticism, the role and possibility of practicing asceticism in the modern technological world, as well as the similarities and differences between the mystical currents of different religions were discussed.

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Keeping up with the times: making of an open online course “Islam: history, culture and practice”

Staff of the Scientific Laboratory on the analysis and modeling of social processes are actively involved in making of the online course “Islam: history, culture and practice”.

The course examines and analyzes the emergence of Islam as a religious teaching and practice, as well as its subsequent development as a cultural and socio-political tradition in various historical and cultural circumstances and regions. The course examines the struggle of ideas and the clash of socio-political movements, based on various interpretations of the foundations of Muslim dogma. The cornerstone of the methodological complex of this educational complex is the concept of internal diversity, “multidimensionality” and “polyphony” of the Muslim tradition, as well as the dynamics of its interaction with non-Islamic value systems, religions and societies.

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Laboratory staff took part in the XXIX International Congress on Historiography and Source Studies of Asia and Africa “Asia and Africa: their Heritage and Modernity”

On April 21-23, 2017, XXIX International Congress on Historiography and Source Studies of Asia and Africa took place at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University. First organized as early as 1961, the conference became today one of the largest platforms for meetings of russian and foreign Orientalists, and since 2017 received congress status.

The congress program included 21 sections, in which more than three hundred reports were presented. The presentations were made by researchers from Moscow, Kazan, Ufa and other centers of Russian oriental studies, as well as scientists from the UK, USA, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Egypt, Italy, the Netherlands and Greece.

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Presentation by Alexander D. Knysh at GÖTTINGER ORIENT-SYMPOSIUM

On Friday, May 19, at the GÖTTINGER ORIENT-SYMPOSIUM conference in Gottingen, Alexander Dmitrievich Knysh, head of the Scientific Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Social Processes, Professor of Islamic Studies at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Michigan, will present a report “Sufism and the Quran: The Vicissitudes of Sufi Exegesis”.

St. Petersburg State University at the international exhibition of higher education in Riyadh

From 12 to 15 April 2017, in the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Riyadh, an international exhibition devoted to higher education issues was held. The exhibition was attended by several dozen leading universities in the world, including St. Petersburg State University. The University was represented at the exhibition by A.V. Tyushev and prof. Oleg I. Redkin.

Much attention is paid to education in Saudi Arabia: hundreds of thousands of Saudi students are studying abroad, and new universities are opening up inside the country. The participants of the exhibition were interested in the program for training specialists with an in-depth study of the history and culture of Islam that is being implemented at St. Petersburg State University. Saudi applicants were also attracted by other educational programs of St. Petersburg State University, which are taught in English.

Presentation by Olga A. Bernikova “Interdisciplinary approaches in training programs for specialists with an in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of Islam: the experience of St. Petersburg State University”

Presentation by O. Bernikova at the Moscow International Education Fair 2017

Lecture of the Head of the Laboratory at the University of Virginia

On Thursday, April 13, at the Center for Contemplative Sciences (University of Virginia) Alexander D. Knysh, head of the Scientific Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Social Processes, Professor of Islamic Studies at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies gave a lecture “Quranic Exegesis and Mystical Experience: Sufis and Quran”.
Sufism is a mystic-ascetic movement in Islam, distinguished by the diversity and richness of ideas and their practical implementation, as well as a significant contribution to the development of the institutional environment and the arts, in particular architecture. The lecture was devoted to the consideration of the approach of adherents of this direction to the Quran and the achievement of certain states of consciousness through the recitation of the Sacred Text. The exoteric reading of Scripture sometimes led to a sharp transformation of the exegete itself, caused by the collision of the ideas of the Koran with the personal experience and beliefs of the Sufi. Such exoteric and empirical practices were considered in the report in a historical and comparative perspective.

The event was supported by the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, the Medieval Studies Program and the Center for the Study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia of the University of Virginia.

Laboratory staff took part in the Moscow International Education Fair

From April 12 to April 15, 2017, the staff of the Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Social Processes took part in the annual the Moscow International Education Fair, the largest event in the field of education in Russia, organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

The theme of the Fair was a “New Ecosystem of Education”. In 2017, there was a special emphasis on the communication among all the participants of the education processes in Russia and abroad. Leading Russian and international educational and scientific organizations, representatives of federal and regional ministries and departments took part in the work of the Fair.
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Science really has no boundaries: a joint project on the Islamic Studies by St. Petersburg State University and the University of Michigan

In the spring semester, St. Petersburg State University, together with one of the leading universities in the United States – the University of Michigan – launched an international seminar on the study of Islamic intellectual and cultural heritage. The project was initiated by Alexander Knysh, a professor at the University of Michigan, the head of a scientific laboratory on the analysis and modeling of social processes at St. Petersburg State University.

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Lecture by A.D.Knysh at the American University of Beirut

February 27, 2017 at the American University of Beirut (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a lecture was given by Alexander Dmitrievich Knysh, head of the Scientific Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Social Processes, Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Michigan. The topic of the lecture: “Sufism as pedagogy: the relationship between the shaykh and his student in historical development” (Sufi Adab as Pedagogy: Shaykh-Murid Relationship across the ages).

The lecture was organized by the Department of Middle Eastern Languages ​​(Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages) and the Center for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies (Center for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies) of the American University of Beirut.

You can watch the video of the lecture by following the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD1a_job8Sk&t=25s

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