Lectures on sufism, by Michel Boivin

From April, 25 to 29, Dr. Michel Boivin, from the Centre for South Asian Studies, School of Avanced Studies of Social Sciences, University of Paris mboivin@ehess.fr, was in Islamabad to give talks at different places and to introduce to the Higher Education Commission, as well as to the Embassy of France and to the European Commission his new research project entitled “Sehwan Project, an interdisciplinary approach to the mausoleums of Sehwan Sharif (Sindh, Pakistan)”.

The Sehwan Project is dedicated those among the mausoleums of Pakistan which are devoted to Sufis. Sufi mausoleums are but a part of the centuries old legacy given by the mystical path of Islam, Sufism. Although there are some recent anthropological works, the cultural expression of Sufism does not deserve attention yet, and it is therefore under-studied in Pakistan which is most of the time linked to Islamic fundamentalism. Sufism nevertheless permeates Pakistani society in the rural milieu, and also, with renewed shapes, in urban milieu. Save the rich patrimony in archaeology and architecture, other cultural expressions of Sufism are almost ignored by research, like for example music, calligraphy, devotional literature and iconography. Sehwan Project would be the first step of a broader programme which would focus, in a scientific perspective, on the artistic and cultural expressions of Sufism. The town of Sehwan Sharif has been chosen as the first topic because of two main reasons. First, a French archaeological team worked there every year for six years. Second, Sehwan can be seen as a metaphor in relation with the role played by Sufism in Pakistani society.
The lecture given by Michel Boivin in Islamabad are the following:

1. “Society, Culture and Devotion in the Indus Valley: Introducing Popular Iconography”, Alliance Française d’Islamabad, on Tuesday, April 25, 6: 30 PM

2. “Sufi Saints in Sindh: Impact on Pakistani values and culture”, National Institute of Population Studies, on Wednesday, April 26, 10: 00 AM

3. “Exploring the Sufi episteme - with Special reference to Sindh”, Social Sciences Forum, on Friday, April 28, 5:00 PM

4. “Sufism and Sufis in British India: Reflections on a colonial representation”, National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i Azam University, on Saturday, April 29, 11: 30 AM.

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Dernière modification : 04/11/2008

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