Department of History of the Middle East Countries

Tuesday, 10 January 2017 18:15
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Department of History of the Middle East Countries © FAAS

The Head of the Department: Diakov Nikolay N.


  • Afghan Historical Texts
  • Arabic Historical Texts
  • Ethnography of the Arab World
  • Ethnography of Turkey
  • Geography and Ethnography оf Iran
  • Geography of Afghanistan
  • Geography of the Arab World
  • Geography of Turkey
  • History of the Arab Maghreb
  • History of the Arab World
  • History of Turkey
  • Introduction to the History of the Middle East
  • Islamic Art
  • Islamic Studies
  • Medieval History of the Arab World
  • Medieval and Modern History of Egypt
  • Modern History of Afghanistan
  • Modern History of Iran
  • Modern History of the Arab World
  • Russia and the Middle East
  • Russian Travellers in the Middle East
  • Social and Economic History of the Ottoman Empire
  • Social and Political Thought in the Arab Countries under the Ottoman Rule
  • Sources оn the History of Afghanistan
  • State Systems and Political Development of Iraq in the XIX-XX Centuries.

The study of the history of Middle East at St. Petersburg University goes a long way back. It was extensively represented in the lectures of O. I. Senkovsky (1800-1858), P. S. Savelyev (1814-1859), A. K. Kazembekov (1802-1870), M. A. Tantawi (1810-1861), M. D. Tobshibashev (1790-1869), and other scholars.

After the Faculty of Oriental Languages was established in 1855, it opened the Department of Oriental History (1863) chaired by V. V. Grigoryev (until 1878) and then N. I. Veselovsky (until 1896). The Department then had three sections: History of Semitic Peoples, History of Aryan People, and History of the Peoples of North-East Asia.

Between 1896 and 1930, among the university professors was Academician V. V. Bartold (1869-1930), an outstanding scholar of the Middle Eastern and Central Asian history and culture. His works effectively laid the foundations for the study of social and political history of the region in the Middle Ages.

After 1917, Oriental studies at the University went through significant changes. From 1934, Middle Eastern history was taught at the Department of the History of Colonial and Dependent Peoples of the Faculty of History, and subsequently at the Oriental Department of the Faculty of Philology.

After the Faculty of Oriental Languages was re-established in 1944, it opened the Department of History of Medieval and Contemporary East, and in 1949 – the Department of the History of Middle Eastern Countries and the Department of the History of Far Eastern Countries. The first head of the Department in 1944-1950 was Prof. A. Yu. Yakubovsky (1886-1953), a distinguished Orientalist, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

In the post-war period, among the faculty were such notable scholars as N. V. Pigulevskaya (1894-1970), corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, author of fundamental works on the history of Bysantium, Iran and Central Asia; M. S. Ivanov; A. M. Belenitsky and V. A. Krachkovskaya; M. V. Churakov, historian of Arab countries, as well as I. P. Petrushevsky (1898-1977), an authority on the history of medieval Iran and the Caliphate, who twice headed the Department (in 1950-1954 and 1961-1977).

Prof. A. D. Novichev – a leading expert on Turkish history – worked at the Department between 1948 and 1982; Prof. L. V. Stroeva, who specialized in the history of Iran and Central Asia, taught there between 1944 and 1989; Prof. A. L. Gryunberg-Zvetinovich, a remarkable teacher of the cultures, languages, and history of the peoples of Afghanistan, was member of staff between 1976 and 1996; Assoc. Prof. A. M. Goldobin, a celebrated specialist in modern and contemporary history of Arab East, taught there between 1953 and 1970.

From 1955 to 1960, the Department was led by Academician I. A. Orbeli (1887-1961), a distinguished Orientalist, specialist in the art of material culture of the peoples of South Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia, who, for several years, also headed the Faculty of Oriental Languages of Leningrad University, ad well as the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies within the Academy of Sciences.

In 1950, the Department was joined by Prof. A. D. Zheltyakov (1925-1989) – an author of numerous major works on the history of Turkish social thought in the modern and contemporary period. He was head of the Department between 1977 and 1989.

Many of the Department’s graduates went on to become eminent specialists in the history of the Middle East, who worked in the academic institutions of Leningrad/Petersburg as well as other cities: S. M. Batsieva, L. E. Kubbel, V. V. Matveev, O. G. Bolshakov, Yu. A. Petrosyan, and numerous others.

Current faculty of the Department are: Professors N.N. Dyakov (head of the Department), I. V. Bazilenko, M. A. Rodionov; Associate Professors I. V. Gerasimov, S. E. Grigoryev, K. A. Zhukov, G. S. Kharatishvili; Senior Lecturers M. Yu. Ilyushina, PhD (History), T. V. Obraztsova, T. M. Sipenkova; Assistant Professor A. V. Zheveleva, PhD (History). Three members of staff hold Doctor of Historical Sciences degrees, and five hold PhDs. O. I. Goluzeev and A. S. Matveev, researchers and instructors, provide instructional support.

As part of research and teaching development, faculty have designed new courses in the history of Arab countries of North Africa (N. N. Dyakov – Maghreb countries, I. V. Gerasimov – Egypt and Sudan), ethnography of South Arabia (M. A. Rodionov), contemporary history of Turkey and the history of Russian-Turkish relations (K. A. Zhukov, A. V. Zheveleva), history of culture of Iran and Afghanistan (I. V. Bazilenko, S. E. Grigoryev, G. S. Kharatishvili).

In recent years, the faculty have written and published dozens of single-author monographs and textbooks, including (in Russian):

  • N. N. Dyakov. Marocco. History, Culture, Religion. SPbU Publishing House, 1993.
  • M. A. Rodionov. Ethnography of West Hadhramaut. General and Local in Ethnic Culture. Moscow, 1994.
  • M. A. Rodionov. Rasa’il al-Hikma. From Druze Manuscrips of the Institute of Oriental Studies (of the Russian Academy of Sciences). St. Petersburg, 1995.
  • S. E. Grigoryev. Panjsher in 1975-1990 as Seen by an Afghan Historian. SPbU, 1997.
  • I. V. Bazilenko. Brief Account of the History and Ideology of the Bahá'í International Community (XIX-XX centuries). SPbU, 1998.
  • K. A. Zhukov. The Oriental Question in K.N. Leontyev’s Historiosophic System. St. Petersburg, 2006.
  • M. A. Rodionov. Classical Islam. St. Petersburg 2001.
  • G. S. Kharatishvili. Georgians – Professors and Teachers of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, St. Petersburg University. SPbU, 2005.
  • N. N. Dyakov. Muslim Maghreb. Sharifs, Tarikats, Marabouts in the History of North Africa. SPbU Publishing House, 2008.
  • G. S. Kharatishvili. Georgians – Professors, Teachers and Graduates of St. Petersburg State University. XIX-ХХ centuries. St. Petersburg, 2009.
  • I. V. Gerasimov. History of Sudanese Journalism. St. Petersburg, Faculty of Philology Publishers 2011.
  • Sulaiman Al Mahri. Mahri’s Principles of Accuracy in Navigational Science (Umdat al-Mahriyya fi dabt al-'ilm al-bahriya) (Translated by T. A. Shumovsky, ed. by A. S. Matveev). Moscow: Marjani Publishing House, 2011. (Bibliotheca Islamica.)

as well as collective monographs and collections of papers (in Russian):

  • Russia and the East. SPbU Publishing, 2000.
  • History of Russia: Russia and the East. St. Petersburg, 2002.
  • Historiography and Source Studies of Asia and Africa. Issues XV-XXV. SPbU Publishing House, 1995-2007. Ed. by N.N. Dyakov et al.
  • Orient: History and Culture. St. Petersburg, 2000.
  • Orient, Orientalists, Oriental Studies. SPbU Publishing House, 2003-2004.
  • Middle East and North Africa. SPbU Publishing House, 2004.
  • Russia – Arab World: Past and Present. SPbU Publishing House, 2004.
  • Russia and the Arab World. To the 200th anniversary of Shaykh Al Tantawi, Professor of St. Petersburg University. Conference materials. SPbU Publishing House. 2010.
  • Introduction to Oriental Studies. Ed. by E. I. Zelenev and V. B. Kasevich. St. Petersburg. KARO. 2011.
  • Traditional and New Religions in the Changing Eurasia and Africa: History and Modernity. Ed. By V. N. Kolotov. St. Petersburg. Russian Christian Academy for the Humanities, 2011.
  • Russia and the East: Phenomenology of Interaction and Identification in the Modern Age. Ed. by N. N. Dyakov, N.A. Samoilov. St. Petersburg. NP-Print, 2011.

In 2001-2012, three DrSc dissertations and over 10 PhD theses were defended at the Department, including those submitted by external candidates and students from Israel, Indonesia, and Turkey.

In recent years, members of the faculty have given talks at All-Russian and international conferences and seminars on the history and culture of the Middle East in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Kazan and Ufa, Baku and Dushanbe, in Alexandria, Kuwait, Manama (Bahrein), Rabat, Riyadh, Istanbul, Teheran, Athens, Nicosia, Basel, Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, London, Naples, Paris, and Edinburgh.

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