We will discuss the emergence of early Sufi communities in the Middle East and Central Asia, and consider the historical and social conditions under which Sufism became more visible and influential. We will also profile sev- eral prominent women and men whose asceticism and devotion continue to inspire Sufis around the world today.
Dr. Zasha Ganovskaya is currently teaching in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. For her research on Sufism, Islamic jurisprudence, and politics in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, she is currently an Edward A. Hewett Policy Fellow, a Visiting Research Fellow at the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, an American Councils Research Scholar, and an IREX Research Fellow. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Dr. Ganovskaya taught in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization at Harvard, where she served as a Research Fellow for the Islamopedia Initiative of the Islamic Studies Program, and received an award for excellence in teaching.