Bodies of Saints: Religion and Society in the Late Medieval Islamic East (ca. 1300-1500)


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




A book project on the late medieval religious history of the Islamic East (western, central, and southern Asia) gleaned from the depiction of the human body in textual and artistic sources. The period saw the solidification of Sufi orders organized around the charisma of great saints whose bodies, whether alive or entombed in majestic shrines, were a particularly potent carrier of religious power and authority. Utilizing recent theoretical discussions, and drawing on literature in various languages, I treat the body as an individual, social, and political artifact reflective of the relevant socioreligious environment. The project expands Islamic religious history into the social arena, beyond the concern with famous individuals, movements, and texts that remains dominant to the present.