Navigating War, Migration and the Taliban – Sufi Survival Strategies in Afghanistan
A seminar with Dr. Annika Schmeding
Contemporary analysts suggest that Sufism is on the decline in Afghanistan, another victim of the ideological hard-lining that accompanies societies in conflict. On the contrary, Schmeding's ethnographic research shows that Sufi communities have not only survived but flourished, in large part because of their leaders' adaptive strategies during periods of instability and persecution. This talk offers an ethnographically-embedded view of various navigational strategies employed by Sufi leaders in Afghanistan over the past four decades, adaptations that have not only allowed Sufi thought and practice to continue but have affected the very concept of what it means to be a Sufi leader in Afghanistan.
Dr. Annika Schmeding is a post-doctoral junior fellow at Harvard’s Society of Fellows. She has worked and researched in Afghanistan repeatedly for the last decade. Her research explores belonging and community formation in (post) conflict settings as well as notions of representation and leadership among minority groups.