Research

Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan

Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan is an ethnographic study of Sufi groups in contemporary Tajikistan. The book project explores how Muslims in Central Asia legitimate relatively new projects of Islamic piety after the enormity of Soviet disjuncture by localizing and re-appropriating the Persian sacred past. Newly-fashioned memories of the religious past work to subvert Tajik state narratives regarding the so-called “Islamic revival” in Central Asia and its potential for violent Islamist politics. The book discusses these negotiations as they take shape in oral historical narratives, the new publication of religious texts, ritual performance, and Sufi pedagogical routines. In short, nascent Islamic devotional practices provide Tajik Sufis with a set of malleable communicative resources with which to negotiate the uncertain political and religious climates of post-Soviet Central Asia.

War Stories: Afghan Memories of Conflict, Migration, and Home

In recent decades, Afghans have experienced invasions by foreign powers, years of resulting civil war, and still ongoing military efforts to create a sustainable political future. Political instability has facilitated the movement of millions of Afghans as refugees, asylum seekers, and so-called economic migrants. This project explores how members of the Afghan diaspora now living in a number of interlinked sites conceptualize their experiences of war, migration, and home through narrative.

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