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Ali Mian: Spectral Queerness in Muslim South Asia
WhenFriday, May 5, 2017, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Campus locationThomson Hall (THO)
Campus room317
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsUW South Asia Center and the UW Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Description

South Asia is home to thriving subcultures of traditionally educated Muslim theologian-jurists (know as the ‘ulama’). The existing scholarship sheds light on the institutional and discursive formation of ‘ulama’ subcultures in colonial India. Scholars also show how many ‘ulama’ engage with the post-colonial nation-state, not only in Bangladesh and Pakistan, but also in India (where Deobandi ‘ulama’ monopolize Muslim personal law). Yet, the existing scholarship remains silent on issues of intimacy and same-sex desire in colonial and post-colonial ‘ulama’ subcultures, compelling us to ask: Is the trace of the sexual not visible in the archives and life-worlds of the ‘ulama’? In this talk, Ali Mian proposes that this scholarly silence is not to be attributed to paucity of sources but to a liberal preference for objects of study that depict Islam and Muslims as assimilable within the modern Western configuration of sexuality.

Ali Altaf Mian is assistant professor of Islamic studies at Seattle University. He completed his Ph.D. in religious studies in 2015 from Duke University. His research interests include: Islam in South Asia; Islamic law and ethics; gender and sexuality; feminist theory and practice; Sufism and comparative mysticism; continental philosophy; comparative religion; theory and method in the study of religion. Currently, he is working on two manuscripts: Muslims in South Asia (contracted with Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming in 2019) and Surviving Modernity: Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi (1863-1943) and the Politics of Muslim Orthodoxy in Colonial India. His publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Islamic Studies, Muslim World, and Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies.

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