Academic Papers

Muratova, Nurie; Popova, Kristina (2018): “Каквото знаем, ще го напишем“. Мюсюлманите в Сърбия и България през погледа на един пътешественик от Индия”, in: Balkanistic Forum, 1/2018; 373-390.

Abstract: The travel notes of Abdurrahman Seoharvi about his journey in August 1912 in the Balkan countries (Bulgaria and Serbia) are a specific view toward these countries in the eve of the Balkan wars 1912-1913. Inspired by publications about Muslims in China and Russia he was interested to see and describe places, towns and people, cultural and religious relationships and costumes, educational progress of the Muslim population in the Balkans. The traveler from India spent several days in Belgrade, Nish, Sofia, Plovdiv and other places and met people especially from the Muslim societies in the visited towns. The travel notes of Abdurrahman Seoharvi were published in English language after coming back to India in the “Comrade” newspaper in Delhi. The publications were found by Prof. Dr. Satinder Kumar Vij, a famous expert of the cultural contacts studies between India and Bulgaria. Dr. Vij found them in the process of his research in Indian libraries and archives of documents about Bulgarian and Balkan history. (Original article in Bulgarian language)

Angelova, Milena – Russian Orientalism and the Rise of Kurdish Studies

Abstract: This article presents an example of the Russian intellectual tradition of Kurdish studies. The Russian experience raises complex general questions concerning orientalism, conceptual hegemony, and the politics of colonial knowledge. The Russian Oriental tradition was deeply linked to politics – probably even more than other European ‘Orientalisms’. Many tsarist officers and administrators became authorities in the field of Oriental studies while Orientalists found employment in the administrations of Central Asia and the Caucasus and in the Russian foreign ministry. Iranian and Persian studies developed within the wider field of Oriental studies in Russia, a number of products of this nineteenth century imperial–scholarly nexus began to play important roles. A great deal of Russian research openly focused on the importance of Kurds and Kurdistan in possible military strategies, and was commissioned by the Army or Asiatic Department. During the nineteenth century, several Russian officers and diplomats gathered information of commercial and military interest on Kurdistan. Russian travelers had written on the area since the 15th century. Several Kurdish tribes had been active participants in the ten Russo-Ottoman wars and in the two Russo-Iranian wars, and the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 had conceded some Kurdish territory to Russia, in addition to the existing well-established Kurdish Diaspora. Hardly any other field of Orientalistic knowledge has ever been so politicised as the study of the history and culture of the Kurds. In Russia, Kurdish Studies developed and became a separate branch of Oriental Studies in the mid-19th century, and Alexandre Jaba played a prominent role in this development. August Jaba (1801-1894), also known as Alexandre Jaba in Russian, was an orientalist – one of the “founding fathers” of the Kurdish Studies, russian diplomat, one of the first researchers studying Kurdish language and literary tradition. Like many others Russian Orientalists, August Jaba, had no orientalist formation and was not an academic. He was born in 1801 in Kroslow into an aristocratic Polish family. After studying at the University of Vilna (Vilnius) he continued his study at the Institute of Oriental Languages in St. Petersburg. He started working in the Consulates of Russia in different places in 1828 and continued it till his retirement. He first worked as a translator because in addition to Polish he could also speak Russian, Turkish, English, French, Persian, and Arabic. In 1848 he became a Russian Consul in Erzurum. The time when Jaba was a Consul in Erzurum was also the time of developing Kurdish Studies in Russia. In Russia, Kurdish Studies developed and became a separate branch of Oriental Studies in the mid-19th century, and Alexandre Jaba played a very important role in this development. The collection of A. Jaba are very valuable for Kurdish language, literary, history, and ethnography as well. As far as Jabba is concerned, his efforts to learn Kurdish to understand Kurdish culture, including his experience and the collection of manuscripts and oral histories, confirm his ethnographic status, albeit with the main profession of “diplomat” in the context of ideological frameworks and state interests.


Muratova, Nurie – The Beginning of the University Education for Women in the Russian Empire

Abstract: The author considers the beginning of the university education for women in the Russian Empire during the second half of the 19th century. Discussions about the access of women to university education are typical for most of the European countries in this period. After the establishment of large network of female high schools the road to university was paved. The paper analyzes the specific features of the Russian model of establishing the first Women’s University (Bestuzhev’s courses) in 1878. Its establishment is a result of a complicated interaction of many factors – the avoidance of serfdom in 1861, the appearance of liberal ideas, nihilist movement, feminist ideas and the growing social engagement of women. In Russia it is preceded by unsuccessful attempts of women to get access to the classical universities (mainly in medicine faculties) and the increased flow of women studding in Western universities (mainly in Zurich). From the end of the18th century the girls from the aristocratic circles were educated in Smolni Institute, and the girls from the middle class studded in professional schools. The first in Russia high female school for girls of different social classes opened in 1859 – Mariinskoe high school – and by that way the class inequality concerning the female high education came to an end. Nevertheless of the social changes following the avoidance of serfdom and the equal access to female high schools the universities continued to be inaccessible to women from all classes. The lack of access to universities provoked the appearance of the female universities whose number is 25 till the beginning of the 20th century. In 1868 a group of women sent a letter to the minister of education D. A. Tolstoy asking for opening of female university courses and received a negative answer. Ten years later on 20 September 1878 in Sankt Petersburg permanent university courses opened. They were initiated by group of women supported by male professors and had three departments – literature –historical, physics – mathematical and special mathematical. The aim of the paper is to follow the mechanism of establishing of the female university, to analyze the specific features of its functioning, and to present the main key figures.


Pashova; Vodenicharov – The First State Female School in Europe as Presented in Russian Historiography

Abstract: In the Russian historiography the School for Noble Maidens in Saint Cyr which was established by the second wife of Louis 14th in 1684 have not been an object of special research. Up to 1917 in the tsarist Russia the school was mentioned in the context of detailed researches related to the history of the female education in Russia. The first and leading researcher of the history of the female education in Russia and specifically of the first female school is Russia was Elena Osipovna Lihachëva (1836 – 1904). Her four volumes fundamental work “Materials about the history of the female education in Russia (1086 – 1880)” published in 1895 was the first research on the problem and covers an immense historical period – from 1086 till 1880. Her research is based fully on archive
documents. Another researcher of the Russian education of similar rank is Nikolay Cherepnin whose object of research was the first state high schools for noble maidens known as Smolni Institute. He published four volumes of 2082 pages, the last volume was only of archive documents. He followed and analyzed the history of the school from its establishment to 1914. The two researchers mentioned the School for Noble Maidens in France and rejected the idea that the Saint Cyr School was a prototype of Smolni Institute for Noble Maidens in Sankt Petersburg. After 1917 nothing was written about the first in Europe state high school for noble maidens because of ideological reasons. Our research is based mainly on the writings of the two Russian scholars. We followed how the idea of the female education originated in Europe and tried to identify the external factors which contributed for the idea to be realized in practice. We analyzed the reasons which influenced Louis 14th to establish the school and the history of the school – its statute (aims, conceptions, approaches), the educational content and system. We outlined the Enlightenment ideas that formed the basis of the educational system in Saint Cyr and followed how they have been realized in the specific practice under the direct supervision of Madam Maintenon (the second wife of Louis 14th). We discussed the problem how the idea of caste state female education developed into a basis of mass public female high schools in France and Europe.