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- Religion and Power in Islamic Central Asia
- Devin DeWeese
This course carries Culture Studies & COLL S & H distribution credit
This course will explore the role of religious figures and institutions in sanctioning, exercising, and/or undermining political authority in Islamic Central Asia, with emphasis on the period after the Mongol conquest of the thirteenth century. Following introductory lectures on the religio-political traditions (Islamic, Iranian, Inner Asian) to which Central Asia was heir, we will survey the principal lines of development in institutional, sectarian, and charismatic religion and their political implications in the Central Asian world before the upheavals of the Mongol conquest; special attention will be given to the impact of the Mongol conquest, and of the Islamization of the western Mongol successor states, on the course of religious and political history in Central Asia in the subsequent Timurid and Uzbek periods. The course will thus focus on the political influence wielded in Central Asian society by the local representatives of Islam's spiritual ideals; and since in Central Asia during the Timurid and Uzbek periods these representatives were primarily Sufi shaykhs, leaders of organized mystical communities, the balance of the course will be devoted to a study of the Central Asian Sufi orders and the ways in which they achieved and utilized their extraordinary social, economic, and political power.
Prerequisites: A course in Islamic history or religion, or in Central Asian history, or permission of the instructor.
Readings: A list of required readings is attached to this syllabus; additional required readings are drawn from the following works placed on reserve at the Main Library:
R. D. McChesney, Waqf in Central Asia: Four Hundred Years in the History of a Muslim Shrine,
1480‑1889 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).
R. D. McChesney, Central Asia: Foundations of Change (Princeton, New Jersey: Darwin Press, 1996).
Naqshbandis: Cheminements et situation actuelle d'un ordre mystique musulman (Actes de la Table Ronde
de Sèvres, 2-4 mai 1985) (Istanbul/Paris: Éditions Isis, 1990; Varia Turcica XVIII).
A supplementary bibliography will be provided.
Requirements: UNDERGRADUATES: midterm exam (30%), final exam (40%), written report based on outside readings (30%); GRADUATES: midterm exam (30%), final exam (40%), research project (research paper, review paper, or annotated bibliography) (30%). Examinations will include additional questions for graduate students; overall expectations are higher for graduate students.