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Muslim Societies in South Asia Seminar

Amina SteinfelsAssociate Professor of Religion, Mount Holyoke College
Chair: Sunil SharmaChair, Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, Associate Professor of Persianate and Comparative Literature, Convener of Persian and Hindi-Urdu, Boston University

Despite a growing sophistication in the study of Islam, our understanding of Sufism continues to be hampered by deeply ingrained presuppositions, especially in the context of South Asian religious history. Professor Steinfels’ research on a fourteenth century Sufi master, Sayyid Jalal al-din Bukhari, demonstrates the inadequacy of categories such as mysticism, law, and orthodoxy, and the relationships usually presumed between them, to describe the lives and thought of medieval Muslims. She argues that Sufism is understood best as a matter of social identification and practice, rather than religious doctrine and theory.

Cosponsored with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program