Prof. Korom delivers lecture at Jadavpur University

Professor Frank J. Korom delivered the third formal public lecture of the Centre for Studies in Islamicate Asia, Department of Comparative Literature, at Jadavpur University. 

His lectured was titled “The Democratization of Sufism in the South Asian Diaspora”
Abstract: The Globalization of Sufism has historically been studied as a movement away from the Middle East toward Central, South and East Asia (and, of course, also to Africa), yet in modern, postcolonial times, the movement has reversed course as the various traditions consumed under this generic term have flowed westward into Europe and the New World. Scholars who have focused their research on the Sufi diaspora have tried to focus not only on how doctrinal change has occurred as a result of geographical adaptation but also how the political and sociological infrastructures of Sufism have changed to accommodate regional and local concerns in the new homelands where it has taken root. This presentation will argue that one of the noticeable bureaucratic transformations that has occurred in American Sufism is democratization. To make this point, I will use the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship as my case study. The Fellowship has its roots in Sri Lanka, where it began as the Serendib Sufi Study Circle in Colombo, which was based on the teachings of a Tamil Sufi from Jaffna named Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, who had settled in Colombo before his departure to the United States in 1971, where he remained on and off until his death in 1986.