“Persian studies and the Military in Late Imperial Russia (1863-1917): State Power in the Service of Knowledge?”
This article pursues the goal of going beyond Saidian notions of Orientalism and Said’s assumption of the “complicity of knowledge with power” to reach back to Foucault’s initial postulates on the role of institutions and the intellectual in the inter-play of power/knowledge relations. The article concentrates on the role of Russian military Oriental studies institutions and orientologists in the context of discourses (the promotion of Russkoe Delo, the juxtaposition of Russia with the West and the Orient, etc.) that existed in late Imperial Russia and influenced the accumulation and development of scholarly knowledge on the Orient. Therefore, the significant contribution of the military domain to Russian Oriental studies on both the institutional and individual levels will be examined from the angle of intra-Russian discourses in the period from the establishment of the Asiatic Section of the General Staff in 1863 up to 1917.