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Farzana Shaikh

Associate Fellow
Royal Institute of International Affairs de Londres, Grand-Bretagne / Pakistan
Re-casting the Politics of Sufism in Pakistan
01 October 2012 -
30 June 2013
Political science

Farzana Shaikh is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. Born in Karachi, she was largely educated in Pakistan. She has a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University and is a former Research Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Dr Shaikh is a specialist in, and has published widely on, Pakistan and South Asian Islam. She has held university lectureships in the UK, the US and Europe, and most recently was a Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She is also a respected foreign policy expert on Pakistan and Afghanistan. She is the author of Community and Consensus in Islam (1989, 2012) and Making Sense of Pakistan (2009), which was published to critical acclaim. Her project at IAS-Paris explores the politics of Sufism in Pakistan.

My project will analyse Pakistan’s relation with Islam after 9/11 through the prism of the country’s historically troubled engagement with popular Sufism, which has recently emerged as a powerful counter-narrative within the discourse of a ‘moderate’ Islam seeking to curb the advance of Muslim militancy that now threatens the survival of Pakistan.  My project will rest on three main lines of inquiry. The first will explore whether the empowerment of Sufism, such as it is in Pakistan, is inherently constrained by the terms of a dominant Muslim ‘modernist’ discourse that has been ambivalent about, if not hostile to, popular Sufism. The second will attempt to establish whether the current appropriation of Sufism by the Pakistani state, though by no means new, represents an exceptional development inasmuch as it is driven by both domestic and international imperatives.  Finally the project will address some broader implications by considering whether, in the current climate of worldwide Muslim anger against a US-led war that is perceived to be ‘against Islam’, the polemical use by the Pakistani state of Sufism as the ‘right’ kind of Islam risks dangerously conflating ‘the war for Pakistan’s survival’ with ‘the defence of Islam’.

12 Jun 2013 10:00 -
12 Jun 2013 18:00,
Aix-en-Provence :
Pakistani elections 2013 - Wither the Pakistani Army?
Talk by Farzana Shaikh (Paris IAS fellow)
31 May 2013 13:00 -
31 May 2013 14:00,
Londres :
Pakistan's General Election: Continuity or Change?
22 May 2013 17:00 -
22 May 2013 19:00,
Paris :
Arguing Pakistan: Muslim Homeland or Islamic Haven?
Workshop organized by Farzana Shaikh (Paris IAS fellow), under the auspices of the Paris IAS
21 May 2013 00:00 -
21 May 2013 00:00,
Paris :
Pilgrims and Politics in Pakistan: Sufism in an Age of Transition
17 May 2013 14:30 -
17 May 2013 14:30,
Paris :
Interpreting the Languages of Islam: the search for consensus in Pakistan
Talk by Farzana Shaikh (Paris IAS fellow)
23 Apr 2013 00:00 -
23 Apr 2013 00:00,
Paris :
Où va l'armée pakistanaise ?
27 Mar 2013 13:00 -
27 Mar 2013 17:00,
Paris :
Muhammad Iqbal and the ‘modern’ Muslim mentality
31 Jan 2013 16:30 -
31 Jan 2013 18:30,
Paris :
Pakistan and the languages of Islam
24 Jan 2013 09:30 -
24 Jan 2013 13:00,
Paris :
Travaux récents sur l’Islam dans le sous-continent indien : quelles nouvelles perspectives ?

Contemporary period (1789-…)