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Islamic Mysticism Unit

Call for Proposals

The Islamic Mysticism Group solicits paper and panel proposals for the 2020 AAR Annual Meeting. All proposals related to Islamic mysticism, as described in the above “Statement of Purpose,” are welcome. This Unit encourages proposals for individual papers, paper sessions, and roundtable discussions in all areas related to Islamic Mysticism, including but not limited to contemporary and classical Sufism, Ismaʿili and broader Shiʿi mysticism, the esoteric and occult arts, aspects of Islamic philosophy and mystical hermeneutics. Proposals must engage with existing scholarship, show theoretical sophistication, and offer original research. Pre-arranged sessions are especially encouraged, but must show diversity of gender to be considered. We also greatly encourage other forms of diversity, especially race, ethnicity, theoretical method, and rank. Authors of accepted proposals are expected to attend the annual meeting and will be barred from future programs if they fail to show, special and emergency circumstances aside.

Any proposals related to the above topics will be considered. For the 2020 meeting in Boston, we also encourage submissions on the following topics, which were formulated during the 2019 AAR Islamic Mysticism Group business meeting:
● Approaches to Hagiographies
● Religion and Psychology, Cognitive Sciences, and Affect Theory as Approaches to the Study of Islamic Mysticism
● Guilds in Islamic History and their Relationship to Sufi Orders
● Mysticism and Ecology
● Islamic Mysticism, Politics, and Social Justice
● Sufism and Empire, including issues related to Globalization and Nationalism
● Gendered Constructions, including the study of Masculinity
● Comparative Mysticism: Mysticism in Islam and in Other Religious and Philosophical Traditions
● The Musical and Ritual Performance of Religion

Statement of Purpose

Islamic mysticism is a broad rubric, one that allows us to engage in areas such as Sufism, Isma’ili and broader Shi’i esoteric thought, some aspects of Islamic philosophy, and allegorical interpretations of the Qur’an. The study of Islamic mysticism also allows our members to engage Islamic materials from many different parts of the world including, but not limited to Persianate regions, the Arab world, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and North America.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments