News and Announcements

Laboratory members and students of Islamic Studies Program at the meeting of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society

On October 3the Grand Opening of the Conference “200 years of diplomatic support of the Russian presence in the Middle East: the history of the creation and activities of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire” was held at the Hermitage Theater. The opening ceremony of the conference was attended by: Chairman of Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Sergey Stepashin, Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky, and other officials, diplomats and specialists, as well as foreign diplomats from the Middle East. Members of the Laboratory Oleg Redkin and Olga Bernikova participated in the meeting, as well as students of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University, studying at the bachelor’s program “Islamic Studies” and “Arabic Philology”.

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Lectures of Vladimir Bobrovnikov at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University

On October 2 at St. Petersburg State University, Vadimir Bobrovnikov from the Department of Central Asia and the Caucasus at the Institute of Asian and African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences delivered lectures for students of undergraduate and graduate programs in Islamic studies.

The first lecture, “Legal Pluralism and Customs among Muslims of the Russian Empire,” was devoted to various aspects of the interaction of three sources of law: adat, Sharia and secular law, as well as concerned the activities of Muslim judges and the specifics of the functioning of the waqf institution. In the second lecture, “The cult of saints in Islam: discourses, practices, politics,” Vladimir Bovrovnikov spoke about the variety of approaches to studying the Ziyara (visiting sacred objects) ritual in domestic and world Islamic studies and the attitude to this rite in various regions of the Muslim world.

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Participation of Oleg Redkin and Olga Bernikova at the IX International Forum “Islam in a Multicultural World” (Kazan)

On June 26-27, the IX International Forum “Islam in a Multicultural World” was held at Kazan Federal University. According to the organizers of the Forum, the main purpose of its holding is to unite the scientific forces of experts in Islamic studies through the exchange of information on scientific achievements and the coordination of collaboration in this area.

Members of the Laboratory staff took part in the section “Teaching the Arabic language using the sacred texts”, presenting reports:


Oleg Redkin – “The Quran and the study of Arabic at secular university”;


Olga Bernikova – “Features of teaching Arabic in a digital society”.

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Workshop for translation of the book “Mapping the Secular Mind: Modernity’s Quest for a Godless Utopia”

On June 25, the Scientific Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Social Processes at St. Petersburg State University held a seminar with Dr. Beddy Ebnou, director of the Institute for Epistemological Studies (Brussels), Dr. Khaled Abu Nakhleh, director of the Institute of Integrated Knowledge (Comprehensive Knowledge Institute, Azerbaijan) and Dr. Haggag Ali (Egypt).

The focus was on a discussion over Haggag Ali’s book “Mapping the Secular Mind: Modernity’s Quest for a Godless Utopia,” published by the International Institute of Islamic Thought. During the seminar, the members of the Laboratory discussed with the guests various aspects of the translation of the book into Russian.

In addition to discussing the book, the seminar was devoted to other issues, for example, the possibilities of cooperation in other areas, including joint educational projects.

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Digest of articles in honor of the anniversary of Professor Oleg Redkin

For the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the head of the Department of Arabic Philology of St. Petersburg State University, Professor Oleg Redkin, a collection of articles entitled “Innovations and Traditions in Arabic and Islamic Studies” was edited by Olga Bernikova and Alexander Knysh.

A wide range of interests of the professor determined the topics of the sections of the collection: “Oriental Studies”, “Islamic Studies”, “Linguistics and Arabic”, “Interdisciplinary Studies” and others. Separate sections are devoted to general issues of oriental studies and pedagogy. Among the authors of the articles professor`s friends and colleagues, including leading Arabic and Islamic scholars, as well as young scientists. The collection contains articles by all members of the Laboratory.

The texts of the articles could be found here.

Production of the online course “Arabic language. Part 2”

We are glad to announce that the registration is continuing for the online course “Arabic language. Part 2″. Course is headed by Professor Oleg Redkin, among the creators of the course are Associate Professor Olga Bernikova, graduate students of St. Petersburg State University Vladimir Rozov and Oleg Sokolov. The course is a continuation of the previous course “Arabic. Introductory course.” During the training, students will continue to become familiar with the morphology of the Arabic language and its syntax. The communication skills would be developed through listening and studying thematic dialogs, which are presented in the form of short videos. The dialogue texts are provided with Russian translation and audio files. Each module includes a dictionary with vocabulary used in it. Based on the results of the course, students are expected to learn at least 1000 lexical units. The course consists of 10 modules, each of which includes grammar material, dialogue and exercises for homework.

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Professor O. Redkin and associate professor O. Bernikova are winners of Saint Petersburg State University prizes for 2018

At a meeting of the Academic Council of St. Petersburg State University, the results of competitive selection for the awards were announced. Among the winners of the St. Petersburg State University Prize for Academic and Methodological Work for 2018 are the members of the Laboratory, Professor Oleg Redkin, and Associate Professor Olga Bernikova. Also at the end of the year Oleg Redkin and Olga Bernikova were awarded the St. Petersburg State University Prize “For Scientific Works” in the category “For Fundamental Achievements in Science” for a series of works entitled “Interdisciplinarity and Innovation in Arabic and Islamic Studies”.


Lection by Alexander Knysh on at the Department of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University

On December 20, the Head of the Laboratory Alxander Knysh gave a lecture and a seminar on the differences and similarities in approaches to the definition of the term “Islam” in various parts of the Muslim world. After a brief introduction describing the current state of intra-Islamic thought, he invited the participants to express their opinion on the proposed issues, covering various aspects of the topic. The presence of students with competence in various fields of humanitarian knowledge made the discussion lively and eventful. As a result, the participants came to the general conclusion: unity in diversity is one of the key features of Muslim thought and culture. The lecture was attended by more than 30 students and researchers from different departments of the University.

Two lectures by Efim Rezvan at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University

On December 13, Russian scholar of Arabic and Islamic Studies Efim Rezvan gave two lectures for students of the Department of African and Asian Studies.

The first lecture was devoted to Quranic ethnography, which studies the ethnographic realities of the Arabian society of the time of Muhammad. Efim Rezvan highlighted in detail the spectrum of sources on the early history of Islam and spoke about modern scientific approaches to the analysis of information about the sermon of Muhammad. He also emphasized the importance of studying the material culture and social structure of ancient Arabian society.

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Lecture by Anna Matochkina “Retrospective development of graffiti in the Middle East: from rock inscriptions to Banksy”

On December 11 the Loft Project “Floors” hosted a lecture “Retrospective of the development of graffiti in the Middle East: from rock inscriptions to Banksy” by the laboratory member Anna Matochkina. The lection was organized by the society “Another East”.

During the lecture, students got acquainted with the centuries-old history of graffiti in the Middle East, learned about motivations of contemporary Arab artists to create graffiti The issue of the use of graffiti by Arab parties and political movements was also raised. In addition, the lecturer talked about the process of transforming public space through the placement of graffiti.