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Saints of the Indus: Islam and Politics in South Asia’s Borderlands
October 17, 2011 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Senior Fellow (2009-2013)
Much has been written about the rise and function of the cult of the saints in Latin and Greek-Orthodox Christianity. By comparison the study of a comparable phenomenon in the Muslim world is still relatively underdeveloped. This seminar will present some preliminary conclusions of ongoing research on the historical development of hereditary Sufi saints and their shrines in the Indus borderlands — a compact area (comprising today’s Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan and Kashmir) where they are exceptionally numerous and have been responsible for the conversion of nearly the entire population. Apart from conversion, particular attention will be given to their role in local politics — a role which sets them apart from their Christian counterparts and remains of key importance to this day.
André Wink is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He obtained his PhD in Indian history from the University of Leiden. Apart from Indian and Islamic history, his teaching and research interests also include medieval and modern world history. His most recent work includes Akbar (Oxford, 2009), two essays for the forthcoming Harvard New History of the World and Oxford Handbook of World History, as well as a history of the Afghans forthcoming in a special issue of Cracow Indological Studies (2009).