“Individuals, Institutions, Discourses: Knowledge and Power in Russia’s Iranian Studies of the Late Imperial, Soviet and Post-Soviet Periods.”
The scholarship on late Imperial Russia’s Oriental studies is divided by a disagreement over the applicability of Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ to the Russian case. Moreover, in a broader sense, since the mid 1990s, the Western scholarship has not been unanimous on the applicability of the underlying Foucauldian notions to late Imperial and Soviet Russia. While presenting a systematic study of Soviet and post-Soviet scholarship (mostly unfamiliar to Western readership) this article offers an assessment of the institutional and individual practices, adopted within Russia’s Oriental studies from the late nineteenth century to the present. The article aims to provide an analysis that goes far beyond the Saidian restrictive East-West dichotomy and his concept of two-vector relations between knowledge and state power. It offers a new reading, based on the deconstruction of the interplay of the manifold multi-vector power/knowledge relations that is clearly identifiable in Russia’s long twentieth century Iranian studies.