The department`s history

Department of religious and cultural studies

Kurmanalieva Ainura – doctor of philosophical science, professor, the head of department of religious and cultural studies since 2011 year.

Department of religious and cultural studies is the center for training specialists in the field of “Religious studies”, “Cultural studies” and “Islamic studies”.

The department`s history is closely connected with the faculty of philosophy and political science`s history and with the beginning of philosophy in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The department`s employees and graduates played a significant role in the formation of Kazakhstan's philosophical thought.

In 1949, there were opened Philosophical and Economic faculties and established the first department of Marxist-Leninist philosophy at S.M. Kirov Kazakh State University. Associate Professor and graduate of the Red Professorship Institute N. Dardykin became the first dean of Philosophy`s faculty. In 1951, Philosophical and Economic faculties were merged into the Philosophic-economic faculty. The head was candidate of economic sciences, associate professor F.A. Zherebyatiev. The Philosophic-economic faculty functioned until 1954 and was closed in accordance with the decision of the Central Committee of CPSU, which determined that the preparation of philosophical specialists should be conducted only in the leading universities of the USSR (Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev State Universities).

The department was responsible for teaching not only philosophy, but also ethics, atheism, aesthetics, logic at all faculties and for organization of postgraduates` philosophical preparation. The department`s scale demanded its expansion, therefore the Faculty`s former graduates as O.A .Segizbaev, M.I. Gilman, V.P. Shustova, A.I. Ikenov and V.G. Yakovlev came to teach at the department.

Currently, the department`s graduates manage philosophical departments at Kazakhstan`s and the near abroad universities. They are the Institute of Philosophy and Political Science`s core and respectable scientists of Kazakhstan.

In the 70-90's the department was the most powerful and qualified among others in the Republic of Kazakhstan. It performed a coordinating role in organizing of the scientific and methodological work of higher educational institutions. Professor K.Kh. Rakhmatullin was a chairperson of the Social Sciences Council under the Higher Education Ministry and an editor of the republican collection "Philosophical Sciences".

M. Lomonosov Moscow State University`s graduate M. Orynbekov was the department`s head from 1995 to 2003. In addition, another graduate of Moscow State University - Professor B.K. Kudaibergenov, who previously worked as a pro-rector of Kalmyk State University, was invited to the department. His doctoral dissertation: "Socio-philosophical quest for spirituality: historical and philosophical sources and contemporary problems" (1997) was highly appreciated by Dissertation Council and scientific community. Professor B.K. Kudaibergenov became the leading religious scholar in Kazakhstan. In 1999, thanks to him was opened the department of Religious Studies. To date, the department prepares specialist at all scientific levels: BA, MA and PhD.

Today, the department aspires to have leading place in the training of religious and cultural scholars among Kazakhstan`s universities. The tradition of religious scholars` preparation, which were started by the department`s head M.S. Orynbekov and Professor B.K. Kudaibergenov successfully continues to this day. The department`s head N.Zh. Baitenova made a significant contribution to the training of young scientists. The tradition is successfully continued by the department`s current head A.D. Kurmanalieva. In 2014, thanks to her initiative was obtained a license for new specialty “Islamic Studies”.

Currently, the work at the department is adjusted in all directions thanks to tireless work of its members. During almost seven decades of its existence, the Department of religious and cultural studies has acquired a great experience in scientific, theoretical and educational work. First of all, the department is the people making up its collective. Each department has its own aura, its image and psychological climate, on which depends the further work`s results. At the same time, the department`s activity is closely connected with other departments, faculties, university and with country`s scientific community.

Department of religious and cultural studies preserves its unique spirit and strives to keep abreast of the times in the context of sovereign Kazakhstan`s goals.