Past Event

"Modern Sufis and the State" (with YouTube Link)

October 6, 2021
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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Modern Sufis and the State

A book talk with Katherine Ewing (Columbia University), Rosemary Corbett (Bard Prison Initiative), Anna Bigelow (Stanford University), Kelly Pemberton (George Washington University), and Anand Taneja (Vanderbilt University). Moderated by SherAli Tareen (Franklin and Marshall College).

Link to the YouTube Event Video

Modern Sufis and the State brings together a range of scholars, including anthropologists, historians, and religious-studies specialists, to challenge common assumptions that are made about Sufism today. Focusing on India and Pakistan within a broader global context, this book provides locally grounded accounts of how Sufis in South Asia have engaged in politics from the colonial period to the present. Contributors foreground the effects and unintended consequences of efforts to link Sufism with the spread of democracy and consider what roles scholars and governments have played in the making of twenty-first-century Sufism. They critique the belief that Salafism and Sufism are antithetical, offering nuanced analyses of the diversity, multivalence, and local embeddedness of Sufi political engagements and self-representations in Pakistan and India. Essays question the portrayal of Sufi shrines as sites of toleration, peace, and harmony, exploring cases of tension and conflict. A wide-ranging interdisciplinary collection, Modern Sufis and the State is a timely call to think critically about the role of public discourse in shaping perceptions of Sufism.

This event is organized by the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life and cosponsored by the South Asia Institute, the Middle East Institute, and the Department of Anthropology.

Modern Sufis and the State