Finished Summary Workshop “Revenge of the Vernacular: Muscovy’s Turkic Engagement with the Persianate World” (Oct. 2)


Category: Workshop

Research Group: B01 State SystemsA02 Islamic Thought & Knowledge

The workshop “Revenge of the Vernacular: Muscovy’s Turkic Engagement with the Persianate World” will be jointly organized by Group B01 “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems”, Group A02 “Changes in the World of Islamic Thought and Knowledge”, and Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University. 

Date & Time: October 2, 2021, 16:00-18:00

Ulfat Abdurasulov (Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University)
“Revenge of the Vernacular: Muscovy’s Turkic Engagement with the Persianate World”

Discussant: Mami Hamamoto (Osaka City University/A02)
Moderator: Nobuaki Kondo (ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies/B01)

ABDURASULOV Ulfat is Visiting Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University. His research interests embrace the history of Islamic Central Asia from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, including issues of property relations, political thought, and diplomacy. Dr. Abdurasulov’s current focus is on record-keeping, record-preservation practices, and politics of knowledge in Russia and Central Asia. He has authored several articles in academic journals such as Der Islam, Ab Imperio, Itinerario, Eurasian Studies, and Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient. He is a co-author of the monograph Seeking Justice at the Court of the Khans of Khiva (19th–early 20th centuries) (Leiden: Brill, 2020).

Language: English
Venue: Online meeting via Zoom, Open to public/Admission free, Pre-registration is required.

Pre-registration: Please use the form for pre-registration.

Co-organizer: Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems” (Principal Investigator: Nobuaki Kondo (ILCAA); 20H05827)/Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “Changes in the World of Islamic Thought and Knowledge” (Principal Investigator: Jin Noda (ILCAA); 20H05825)/Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University

Contact: Madoka Morita (mmorita[at]



In this workshop, Professor Abdurasulov explored language choice and its implications in the diplomatic exchanges between the Russian state of Muscovy, Safavid Iran, Mughal India, and the Central Asian principalities—primarily the Khanates of Khiva and Bukhara—during the seventeenth century. One of the most fascinating facts of his analysis of diplomatic correspondence from the foreign office of Muscovy (the Posol’ski Prikaz) is the clear Muscovite preference for the Turkic language in communicating with Central Asian khanates: despite the general use of Persian in the khanates’ diplomatic letters sent to Muscovy, Muscovite responses to those letters were composed both in Russian and Turkic, but not in Persian. Professor Abdurasulov concluded that the Turkic-centered diplomacy of Muscovy with Islamic world including Central Asia might have paved the way for a well-known process whereby the Central Asian principalities started to write their diplomatic letters to Russia in Turkic, instead of Persian, from the beginning of the eighteenth century.

For the purpose of providing Professor Abdurasulov’s conclusion with a different perspective, Professor Hamamoto proposed to consider the establishment of Turkic as a literary language from the second half of the fifteenth century as a key factor conducive to the centrality of Turkic language in Muscovite diplomacy that came into view during the seventeenth century. Moreover, she added that the consistent Muscovite endeavor to promote Turkic as a diplomatic language is reflected in its exchange of letters with the Qing dynasty during the same period, hence indicative of the way in which Muscovy—regardless of the ethnic background of its counterparts—conceptualized Turkic language as a lingua franca in Asia more broadly.

(Madoka Morita)

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