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(Re)constructing Muslim Identities from the Soviet Past: Muslim Tatar Women’s Stories of Soviet Moral Selves Open Access

The revival of Islam in the central Russian republic of Tatarstan has transformed the daily landscape and the very notion of Muslim piety in the region. While a growing number of historically Muslim Tatars of all ages are embracing embodied piety, an older generation’s turn to religion is often perceived as late in coming and insincere. Based on ethnographic research and personal narratives of practicing Muslim Tatar women, I explore the ways the older women (re)construct their Muslim identities in the context of Tatars’ recent interest in Islam. Specifically, I analyze two older Tatar women’s stories about their paths to Islam. My analysis suggests that by tapping into the Soviet past, the women strive to create a continuously moral self that can serve as a solid basis for their present-day Muslim piety.

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