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Book chapter

Был ли Хаджетлаше мусульманином? Одно странное конструирование идентичности в поздней Российской империи

С. 162-200.

The paper reconstructs, in the context of actual problems of Russian historical memory and basing on archives of various provenance and the then publications, a biography of M.-B. Hadjetlaché (aka Yu. Kazi-Bek Akhmetukov, G. Ettinger, etc., ca 1868–1929) – a Circassian writer, Muslim journalist, Russian adventurist and double-dealer; the arguments for his being born Jewish are provided. In comparison of this biography with his self-narratives, his constructing of Circassian and Muslim identity is analyzed. In particular, ideas (and their sources) of what Muslim belonging means, both inside and outside the Muslim milieu (that of Russian Muslim intelligentsia), are investigated; the role of mass Orientalism and the crossovers of different cultural spaces in the formation of Muslim self-representations is emphasized, as well as the perception of ‘being Muslim’ as culture rather than religion. The question of whether Hadjetlaché was a Muslim is taken on the brink of forgery and forging, imposture and invention of identity, and his using the latter politically as his ‘symbolic capital’ is demonstrated.