Ahmet T. Karamustafa is Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. His expertise is in the social and intellectual history of Sufism in particular and Islamic piety in general from the tenth through the fifteenth century. His publications include God’s Unruly Friends (University of Utah Press, 1994) and Sufism: The Formative Period (Edinburgh University Press & University of California Press, 2007). He is currently working on a book project titled Vernacular Islam: Everyday Muslim Religious Life in Medieval Anatolia.
Sufi piety has always featured some antinomian and/or non-conformist practices such as dance and hand-clapping in religious rituals, dwelling in lodges, celibacy, vegetarianism, and withdrawal from mainstream social life. Professor Karamustafa traces the history of counterculture dervishes who championed such practices from their origins in the ninth century through the early modern period and explores the reasons for their enduring popularity.
Reception starts at 4:00pm.