Sufism, Religious Revival, and the Struggle for Islamic Modernity in Contemporary Sudan


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History of Religions


This dissertation is an attempt to rethink the contemporary Islamic revival in Sudan through a study of the contested ground on which it is founded. While political Islam has been the focus of academics and policy-makers alike, this dissertation broadens the object of study to reveal the diversity of revivalist Islam that has at times challenged the idea that the political should be the primary arena for the making of Islamic societies and selves. The focus of this disertation is the attempt of Sufi organizations to create an Islamic modernity in Sudan and the challenges they face from competing trends in Islamic thought. Ethnographic examples include the debates between Sufis and the reformist movement Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya, as well as several instances of how Sufi groups are building an Islamic society, such as the mission to urban youth and mass proselytization through the propagation of Sufi song (madih).