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Wilhelm Schenfeld (St. Petersburg)
Mirza Alexander Kazem-Bek (1802 - 1870), First Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at St. Petersburg University
1850 (second half)
Salted paper print
Private collection of Sergey Maximishin
Alexander Kasimovich Kazem-Bek (Mirza Kazim-Bek) was an Russian and Persian orientalist. The son of a famous Muslim theologian, he converted to Presbyterian Christianity from Scottish missions in 1823 receiving the name Alexander. This act led to a break with his parents. Without even having a university diploma, Kazem-Bek was elected a full member of the Royal Asiatic Society in London at the age of 26, and 2 years later, having written a work on Arabic philology in Persian, he received a master's degree in Oriental literature. By the end of his life, the scientist had the titles of a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and an honorary doctor of Oriental Literature.