November 24, 2021
Abstract: Islamic scholars (Ulama) often appear in historical literature as austere jurists. Yet the social roles performed by this social group were actually far more diverse, which led to seeming contradictions. For instance, prohibitions on alcohol and romance coexisted with celebration of those same activities. This presentation examines how textual genre can help us make sense of the paradoxes produced by the exceedingly eclectic world of the Ulama
Bio: James Pickett is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. He focuses on empire and Islam as entangled sources of authority, with particular attention to historical memory and state formation. His first monograph, Polymaths of Islam: Power and Networks of Knowledge in Central Asia (Cornell University Press, 2020), examines transregional networks of exchange among religious scholars in the Central Asian city-state of Bukhara. Through mastery of arcane disciplines, these multi-talented intellectuals enshrined their city as a peerless center of Islam, and thereby elevated themselves into the halls of power.
This is a hybrid event. All AUCA faculty and students are welcome to join Literature Week in person. Those external to AUCA are welcome to join via Zoom.
In person participants are required to wear masks and follow AUCA’s Covid protocols and social distancing requirements.