Specialization: Islam in South Asia, with special focus on South India and Sri Lanka; Islamic networks in the Indian Ocean region; Sufism; Indian Muslims in Southeast Asia; vernacularization; Muslim literature in Tamil
Tuesday, 11- 12 h
Appointments can be made via e-mail.
My research focusses on Muslim societies in South India and Sri Lanka. Primarily, I have been concentrating on two aspects of these societies. On the one hand, I am interested in their integration into the wider Indian Ocean region, especially with Yemen, the Gulf-region, the Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra, through trade, religious scholarship, Sufi-orders, and pilgrimage. In this context, I have paid special attention to the circulation and migration of South Indian Muslims to Singapore and the Malay Peninsula in past and present. Furthermore, I am currently engaged in studying the spread of the Shādhiliyya-order from the Arab Peninsula to South India and Sri Lanka during the nineteenth century.
The second primary focus of my research is the vernacularization of Islamic discourses in South India and Sri Lanka. Currently, I am in particular researching the social, historical, and intellectual contexts of early Islamic literary production in Tamil language between 1572 and 1842. This literature is of particular interest, as it draws heavily on local traditions of literature and literary theory, similar to Islamic literature in Javanese or Chinese. It is thus rather different from the strongly Persianate literary tradition of Urdu, but exhibits marked parallels to other South Asian Muslim literatures, for example in Bengali or Avadhi. A better knowledge of this literature, which has hitherto only been studied superficially, will therefore contribute to a more sophisticated understanding of Islamic discourses in South Asian vernaculars.