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Michael KEMPER

Portrait KEMPER Michael

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Professeur à l'Université d'Amsterdam, member associé


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Next to his affiliation to EHESS, Michael Kemper (1966) is professor and chair of Eastern European Studies, one of the three chair groups of European Studies at UvA. Dr. Kemper’s major fields of expertise are Islam in Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Turkey, as well as the history of colonialism and of Oriental Studies in Europe. In his research he combines historical and philological interests with social network studies; in addition, he takes a special delight in comparative studies.

Kemper studied Slavic as well as Islamic and Oriental Studies at Bochum University, Germany. In his dissertation (1997) he investigated the history of Islamic theology, law, and Sufism, as well as local historiography, in the Volga and Urals regions of Russia (Sufis und Gelehrte in Tatarien und Baschkirien. Der islamische Diskurs unter russischer Herrschaft, Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag 1998, 516 pp.; Russian translation: Sufii i uchenye v Tatarstane i Bashkortostane, 1789-1889: Islamskii diskurs pod russkim gospodstvom, transl. by Iskander Gilyazov, Kazan’: Idel’-Press, 2008, 655 pp.).

Kemper’s second monograph (habilitation, 2005) explored the nineteenth-century jihad against Russian colonialism in the Caucasus (Herrschaft, Recht und Islam in Daghestan. Von den Khanaten und Gemeindebünden zum ğihād-Staat (Caucasian Studies vol. 7), Wiesbaden: Reichert-Verlag 2005, 464 pp.). These works are mainly based on the rich Arabic and Turkic manuscript collections in the Russian Federation and Turkey, as well as on Russian historiography.

At Bochum University Kemper also directed, in close collaboration with Stefan Reichmuth, a Junior Research Group on “Islamic Networks of Education (Eighteenth-Twentieth Centuries)”, which was generously supported by the Volkswagen Foundation. Between 1998 and 2007, this group produced seven dissertations on Islamic movements of education in India, Syria, Bosnia, and Turkey/the Ottoman Empire. Between 2005 and 2007 Kemper worked as assistant professor for Central Eurasian History at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, where he taught the history and present of the vast contact zone between Europe and Asia, with a focus on Russia and the Ottoman lands.

Kemper co-edited the series Muslim Culture in Russia and Central Asia (Berlin 1996-2004, 4 vols., with Anke von Kuegelgen and colleagues from Russia, Kazakhstan, and the US). He was also chief editor of Rechtspluralismus in der Islamischen Welt (Berlin 2005, with Maurus Reinkowski, Freiburg), which resulted from a comparative project on Islamic and customary law. In addition, Kemper is involved in the project Islamic Education in the Soviet Union and the CIS, sponsored, again, by the Volkswagen Foundation. Here the focus is on the repression and survival of Islamic institutions of learning in the USSR, and on their revival after 1991.

In April 2009 Kemper will launch at UvA, together with Dr. Stéphane A. Dudoignon (EHESS), the research project “The Legacy of Soviet Oriental Studies: Networks, Institutions, Discourses” (funded by the Dutch Scientific Organisation), which comprises PhD research projects on Oriental Studies in Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as well as other studies on Central Asia, Tatarstan and the Caucasus.

Recent publications

“Ljucian Klimovič, der ideologische Bluthund der sowjetischen Islamkunde und Zentralasienliteratur“, in: Asiatische Studien – Études Asiatiques, vol. LXIII-1 (2009, forthcoming).

“The Soviet Discourse on the Origin and Class Character of Islam, 1923-1933“, Die Welt des Islams 49/1 (2009), 1-48.

“Ausprägungen des Islams im Kaukasus“, in: Bernhard Chiari (ed.), Wegweiser zur Geschichte: Kaukasus, Potsdam (Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt), 2008, 203-220.

"The Changing Images of Jihad Leaders: Shamil and Abd al-Qadir in Daghestani and Algerian Historical Writing", Nova Religio: Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, vol. 11, 2 (2007), 28-58.

"Tekke Takeovers and Hagiography Writing, 15th to 20th Centuries: Hajji Bektash, Hajjim Sultan, Demir Baba and Qaraja Ahmed“, Pis’mennye pamiatniki vostoka (Oriental Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), no. 2 (7), 2007, 144-167.

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