“Baraka Bodies: Thinking with and Through Devotional Image-Objects in Everyday Shiʿism in South Asia”
Karen Ruffle (University of Toronto)
Karen Ruffle is Associate Professor in the Department of Historical Studies and Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, where she specializes in South Asian Shiʿism and Sufism. Her research focuses on devotional texts, ritual practice, and Shiʿi material practices in South Asia. Her first book was Gender, Sainthood, and Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). Her second monograph, Everyday Shiʿism in South Asia was recently published (Wiley, 2021). She is currently working on a new book project, Building the City of Haidar: Kingship, Urban Space, and Shiʿi Ritual in Qutb Shahi Hyderabad.
Time: May 19, 2021
11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 984 8037 7079
Everyday Shi’ism in South Asia is an introduction to the everyday life and cultural memory of Shi’i women and men, focusing on the religious worlds of both individuals and communities at particular historical moments and places in the Indian subcontinent. Author Karen Ruffle draws upon an array primary sources, images, and ethnographic data to present topical case studies offering broad snapshots Shi’i life as well as microscopic analyses of ritual practices, material objects, architectural and artistic forms, and more.
Focusing exclusively on South Asian Shi’ism, an area mostly ignored by contemporary scholars who focus on the Arab lands of Iran and Iraq, the author shifts readers’ analytical focus from the center of Islam to its periphery. Ruffle provides new perspectives on the diverse ways that the Shi’a intersect with not only South Asian religious culture and history, but also the wider Islamic humanistic tradition. Written for an academic audience, yet accessible to general readers, this unique resource:
Explores Shi’i religious practice and the relationship between religious normativity and everyday religious life and material culture
Contextualizes Muharram rituals, public performances, festivals, vow-making, and material objects and practices of South Asian Shi’a
Draws from author’s studies and fieldwork throughout India and Pakistan, featuring numerous color photographs
Places Shi’i religious symbols, cultural values, and social systems in historical context
Includes an extended survey of scholarship on South Asian Shi’ism from the seventeenth century to the present.
For further information on The Latin America and Caribbean Islamic Studies Newsletter, in which this paper appears, click here.