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Dr. Elena Smolarz

Research Associate

Elena Smolarz

University of Bonn

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies

Adenauerallee 18-22

53113 Bonn

Tel.: +49 228 73-62447

E-Mail: esmolarz[at]




As a research associate of competence network ‘Crossroads Asia’, Elena conducted research on coerced mobility and slave trade practices in Central Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her main areas of interest include transformation of autochthonous societies in borderland regions under Russian imperial rule, translocal slave trade networks, ransoming processes as well as studies on spatial and social mobility.

1 book, 1 edited volume, 9 academic papers, 3 reviews, 25 national and international presentations


1997-2004      M.A. Studies in Islamic Studies, Eastern European History and Comparative Studies of Religion, University of Bonn
2008-2014      PhD Studies in Islamic Studies, University of Bonn
                       Bonn International Graduate Schools – Oriental and Asian Studies (BIGS-OAS)
2017-2018      EU-Fundraiser, EMCRA (Berlin)

Academic Positions

2005-2010      Research Associate, Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies, UoB
2012-2016      Principal Investigator, Center for Development Studies, UoB
2018-present  Research Associate, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, UoB

Participation in Centers and Collaborative Projects

Member of European Society for Central Asian Studies (since 2013); Member of BMBF founded Competence-Network “Crossroads Asia” (2012-2016)

Additional Academic Activities

External Reviewer for Brill Publishing House;
External Reviewer for Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

Scholarships and Awards

Scholarship of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (1997-2002); Doctoral Scholarship of Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (2008-2011)


individual project in BMBF founded Competence-Network “Crossroads Asia” (2012-2016) – approximately € 240.000€ ad personam

Selected Publications

  1. "Ransoming of Russian Slaves in Central Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries: salvation of lost souls or a part of slave trade?” in Transcultural Studies (forthcoming)
  2.  "Speaking about Freedom and Dependency. Representations and Experiences of Russian Enslaved Captives in Central Asia in the First Half of the 19th Century". In: Journal of Global Slavery, 2(2017), No. 1-2, S. 44-71.
  3. "Imperski vzgliad na mobil’nost’ i formi social’nogo vzaimodeistviia v pogranichnom regione Orenburshia v nachale XIX veka.“ [Imperial Perspective on Mobility and Forms of Social Interactions in Orenburg Borderland at the Beginning of the 19th Century], in: Vosmie Bolshakovskie chteniia. Orenburgski krai kak istoriko-kul’turni fenomen. Orenburg 2016, S.  94-97.
  4. Institutionsbildung im Islam unter russisch-imperialem Einfluss am Beispiel der Orenburger Geistlichen Versammlung des Mohammedanischen Gesetzes 1788-1860 [Institutionalization in Islam under Russian imperial influence. The Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly in 1788-1860], Berlin 2016 (Bonner Islamstudien, Bd. 34).
  5. With Stephan Conermann (eds.): Mobilizing Religion: Networks and Mobility, Berlin 2015 (Bonner Asienstudien; 12).
  6. With Stephan Conermann: „Introduction“, in: Mobilizing Religion: Networks and Mobility, ed. by Stephan Conermann und Elena Smolarz, Berlin 2015, S. 7-19 (Bonner Asienstudien; 12).
  7. “Unterwegs wider Willen. Mobilität in den Schilderungen russischer Sklaven im Buchara des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts“ [On the Move against their Will. Mobility in the Representations of Russian Slaves in the 18th and 19th Century-Bukhara], in: Internationales Asienforum, 45 (2014), No. 1-2, S. 85-111.
  8. "Ahmad Donis. Navodir ul-vaqoje“, in: Kindlers Literatur Lexikon, 3., vollständig neu bearbeitete Aufl., München 2009.
  9. "Ahmad Donis. Risola“, in: Kindlers Literatur Lexikon, 3., vollständig neu bearbeitete Aufl., München 2009.
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