“Rupture or Continuity? The organizational set-up of Russian and Soviet Oriental Studies before and after 1917.”
The article presents a systematic appraisal of the essential Russian- and English-language scholarship on Russian Oriental studies and, particularly, on Russia’s Iranology. However, the main target of this article is to trace the discursive continuities and epistemological shifts which have existed in late Imperial, Soviet and, partially, post-Soviet Russia’s Oriental studies since the end of the nineteenth century. Drawing on the sources of the main Russian political, military and academic archives, the author offers his own assessment of the question of rupture or continuity, which is based on a synthesis of the above mentioned scholarship under an entirely new angle. Dealing with the seemingly overwhelming watershed of 1917, he provides an analysis that transcends the unhelpful continuity/change dichotomy, putting forward a completely new interpretation, which is informed by a Foucauldian analysis of the productive nature the power/knowledge nexus.