Congratulations to Asian Studies faculty member Afsar Mohammad on his promotion!
Posted: March 3, 2014
Afsar Mohammad has been promoted to Senior Lecturer, effective Fall 2014.
Dr. Mohammad joined the faculty in Asian Studies in 2007 as the Telugu language lecturer. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2010.
His book, The Festival of Pirs: Popular Islam and Shared Devotion in South India was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.
When asked about his latest research, Dr. Mohammad related what a young man said to him during field research in South India in 2006, "Sufism is just modern, and it’s all about the present dilemmas of life. It’s the only light available now while everything else is heat in the name of Islam or devotion." According to Dr. Mohammad, that particular sentence opened a new door into his research on popular Islam.
Based on those field research experiences, he's currently working on two projects:
1) Focuses on contemporary and modern manifestations of Sufism and Muslim sainthood practices in the times of technology and globalization.
2) Contemporary Sufi literature in Telugu.
One cannot discuss Dr. Mohammad's research without also discussing his creative writing. Dr. Mohammad is a published writer in his home language Telugu. He has published four volumes of poetry and won national award for his book of poems titled Valasa (migration) in 2008. He also published two books on literary theory in Telugu focusing on the ideas of modernity, post-modernity and localism. His translation of Telugu poems titled Evening with a Sufi is now in press, and a new collection of short stories tentatively titled Sahil is on the way is also in the press. He is currently an editor for an online Telugu literary weekly magazine Saranga.
When asked if there's anything personal he'd like to share, he says "I always feel at home on the fourth floor of the WCH, where I see refreshing smiles, hear pleasant jokes and share both food for mind and heart, sometimes, real good food too. More than books, people fascinate me. More than libraries and archives, I love streets, class rooms and the spaces filled with people. I basically describe myself an ethnographer in that sense."
For more information about Dr. Afsar Mohammad, please see his faculty page.