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Hamzić, Vanja (2015) Mir-Said Sultan-Galiev and the Idea of Muslim Marxism. In: Reformers and Intellectual Reformulation in Contemporary Islam, January 2015, SOAS, University of London and Queen Mary, University of London. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper attempts to critically reassess the rise and fall of Muslim Marxism – an intriguing if controversial intellectual tradition seeking to reconcile rudimentary Marxist views on social and economic justice with those of Muslim political and religious consciousness. First part of the paper revisits perhaps the most important harbinger of the idea of Muslim Marxism – the controversial Tatar Muslim and Bolshevik political and social reformer Mir-Said Sultan-Galiev (Tatar: Mirsäyet Soltanğäliev / Мирсәет Солтангалиев; Russian: Мирсаид Султан-Галиев; 1892–1940), via a critical reading of his selected works in Russian and Tatar, the great majority of which have not yet been translated into the English language. Contrary to some recent academic accounts, I argue that Sultan-Galiev’s thought, however controversial, should be understood as stemming from and remaining within the Muslim tradition. This is particularly true with regards to his interpretation of Muslim subjectivity, which uses but ultimately transgresses the early twentieth-century concepts of ethnic, national and religious belonging in order to reimagine and give primacy to Muslim political – and, indeed, revolutionary – umma. It is equally evident in his attempt to sketch out the foundational elements of what I call Muslim praxis – an intellectual and political meeting point of Islamic legal and social theory and practice. Whilst Sultan-Galiev’s ideas have found a fertile soil in amongst the early twentieth-century Tatar intelligentsia and proletariat alike, as well as the interbellum ‘Third World’ Muslim and non-Muslim political and religious thinkers, they were ultimately fiercely rejected and outlawed by the Stalinist Soviet state. The second part of this paper thus revisits the afterlives of Muslim Marxism in places geographically far away but close in terms of religious and political belonging to Sultan-Galiev’s homeland – the nascent Muslim socialist post-World War II intellectual milieux of Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Bosnia. I conclude by offering some thoughts on the relevance of Muslim Marxism, particularly that of Sultan-Galiev’s and post-Sultan-Galiev’s ‘Third World’ strand, for the contemporary reformulations of Muslim religious, political and social selfhood.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
SOAS Departments & Centres: ?? 302 ??
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law > Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL)
School Research Centres > Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law
Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 14:01
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21311

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