Herzliche Einladung zum Gastvortrag von Ali Altaf Mian
Abstract:This presentation will shed light on sexuality and “Deobandī Islam.” By the latter phrase, I mean the community of traditional/orthodox Muslim theologians, Sufis, and jurists associated with the Deoband school of thought and practice in modern South Asia. The Deobandīs form a significant community of clerical scholars who manage hundreds of seminaries, mosques, Sufi lodges, and missionary groups in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as well as the South Asian Muslim diaspora, especially in Southern Africa, the UK, and North America. I start by analyzing Deobandīs’ jurisprudential position on “sodomy (homosexuality),” critically noting the biopolitical implications behind their conflation of a sexual act with a modern identity category. I then complicate the picture by analyzing how they navigate the tensions between “carnal eros” and “divine eros.” They transform the former into the latter by means of psychical strategies, including sublimation, to borrow a term from psychoanalysis. Here, I intervene in Islamicist scholarship on love and Sufism by emphasizing the erotic dimensions of embodying the divine norms (sharī‘ah). I further argue that the sublimation of carnal eros into divine eros generates a psychic excess, a form of same-sex desire that returns to serve the communal and political needs of the Deobandīs. Towards the end, I address how their deployment of same-sex inclination and attachment reinforces the segregation of the sexes and the reduction of the feminine to the domestic.
Ali Altaf Mianhttps://alialtafmian.com/ completed his Ph.D. from Duke University in Islamic studies in 2015. He is currently assistant professor of Islam at Seattle University, where he also teaches classes on Qur'an, comparative religion and mysticism, and gender and sexuality in Islam. He is the author of Muslims in South Asia (forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press) and is also working on a manuscript entitled, Surviving Modernity: Ashraf 'Ali Thanvi (1863-1943) and the Politics of Muslim Orthodoxy in Colonial India.