This course is an intensive survey of the rich variety of Islamic intellectual, literary and cultural phenomena subsumed under the term Sufism. Sufi philosophies, liturgical practices, and social organizations have been a major part of the Islamic tradition in all historical periods, and Sufism has also served as a primary muse behind Islamic aesthetic expression in poetry, music, and the visual arts. In this course, we will explore the various significations of Sufism by addressing both the world of ideas and socio-cultural practices. The course is divided into three broad sections: central themes and concepts going back to the earliest individuals who identified themselves as Sufis; Sufi metaphysics and epistemology as exemplified in the work of Ibn al-'Arabi and his school, and literary expressions as exemplified in the epic poem Layla and Majnun by Nizami, The Conference of the Birds by Attar, and in the life and poetry of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi. In studying this material, we will be concerned equally with establishing common patterns and seeing how being a Sufi has meant different things to various people over the course of history.
Section 401 - SEM
T 0130PM-0430PM