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'A Clash of Islams: Sufism and Salafism in the Caucasus' - Dr. Alexander Knysh

Thursday, February 01, 2018,
  • Location: Furman Hall • 2111 West End Ave • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 003 - Center for Second Language Studies

Dr. Alexander Knysh (University of Michigan) will give a talk that explores the vicissitudes of Sufism’s recent history in the Muslim republics of Russia’s Northern Caucasus, and shows how Sufism’s status as “a mainstay of the international social order” (per Marshall Hodgson) has come under critical scrutiny as well as verbal and physical attacks from a variety of quarters. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-Sufi discourses have been motivated by its former and recent social, political and cultural prominence in Muslim societies. The most potent challenge to Sufism’s doctrinal and devotional dominance has come from various Salafi (“fundamentalist”) movements. Does this “clash of Islams” represent a re-enactment, in Muslim communities worldwide, of the Protestant Reformation?