Muslim Atheism in Central Asia

Central Asia and Caucasus Seminar
Event Format
In person
CGIS S250, 1730 Cambridge St

The talk will offer an overview of Dr. Eren Tasar's book project, Muslim Atheism in Central Asia, slated for completion in late 2024. The book's focus is the wholly neglected body of atheistic literature produced in the languages of the USSR’s traditionally Muslim peoples. Muslim Atheism argues that Soviet atheism became something different when translated into Islamic settings, where it took on a life of its own, with little supervision from Moscow. If centrally promulgated Soviet atheism was methodical, centralized, grasping in a faithful manner at ways to eradicate or diminish religion's influence, then the atheism encountered in Central Asian languages exhibits no such consistency. Muslim atheists communicated their views to Central Asians in ways that were contradictory, often embracing Islam and denigrating it at the same time. The presentation will discuss the arguments of the book's first two completed chapters, which chart the birth of Muslim atheism in the 1950s and its development into a diverse and rapidly expanding body of literature in the 1960s.

Refreshments will be provided.

Time Period


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.