News story

Annemarie Schimmel Scholarship Awarded to Dr Dina Le Gall

4th December 2011

Dr Le Gall’s project, Sufisminfo-icon in History: Mysticism, Piety, and Saintly Power in the Lives of Muslim Societies is a broad comparative study of the history of Sufism and its interactions with Muslim societies over a wide chronological and geographic span--from early Islam to the present, and from the Middle East to the Balkans, Indonesia, parts of Africa, and Central and South Asia. It is currently a manuscript in progress under contract to Cambridge University Press.

Building especially on the insights and methods developed by scholars of Sufism in the past generation, the author examines the tradition in its varied dimensions as a mystical one, a vibrant form of Muslim piety, and a movement integral to the fabric of myriad Muslim societies. She seeks to understand why for over a millennium Sufism has been so ubiquitous; how adherents (men and women) have become affiliated with it; how it has created religious meaning, speaking to the concerns and aspirations of individuals and communities; what it has promised followers and how it has intersected with other social formations, shaping Muslim public space and participating in creating and sustaining self-reproducing social orders.

Employing a combined chronological and thematic approach, the manuscript includes chapters titled Muslim Saints and Saint Veneration; Communities, Networks, and the Ordering of Sufi Space; Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Sufi Discourse and Practice; Sufism and its Critics; and Modern and Contemporary Sufism as a Living Tradition.

Dr Dina Le Gall is a specialist in Ottoman history and the history of Sufism, the author of A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandis in the Ottoman World, 1450-1700 (SUNY Press, 2005) and, most recently, an article entitled Recent Thinking on Sufis and Saints in the Lives of Muslim Societies, Past and Present, from the International Journal of Middle East Studies. She is the recipient of a number of fellowships and awards, including a 2009 Faculty Research Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Annemarie Schimmel Scholarship, inaugurated in 2004, is awarded every three years to a scholar working in the fields of interest to the late Professor Schimmel, such as Islamic mysticism, Arabic, Persian and South Asian literatures and literary and artistic expressions of Muslim devotional life. The £10,000 award is intended to assist the recipient to complete research leading to the publication of a book.