This course is intended (1) to familiarize students with the body of Islamic hagiographical literature produced in Central Asia from the 12th to 19th centuries, (2) to introduce them to the textual, methodological, conceptual, and historical problems in utilizing and interpreting this literary corpus, and (3) to provide experience in reading and analyzing individual hagiographical accounts. Introductory lectures and readings will cover the hagiographical tradition itself and the state of scholarly research dealing with Central Asian Islamic hagiography; the major part of the course will be devoted to guided readings in Persian and/or Chaghatay Turkic hagiographical works selected on the basis of students' interests and language skills. Since very few Central Asian hagiographies have been published in critical editions, most readings will be drawn from works available in printouts from microfilms of original manuscripts.
Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of Persian and/or Chaghatay Turkic.
Readings: In addition to readings in the hagiographical works themselves, students are expected to familiarize themselves with the relatively limited body of scholarly literature devoted to Central Asian hagiography; a select bibliography will be provided; readings for the introductory sections will be distributed in class.
Requirements: Course grade will be determined on the basis of class participation, demonstrated progress in reading and interpreting the texts, and a research project to be defined in consultation with the instructor.