Please join us on Thursday, February 20 in the Marvin Center, Room 307 for the 2020 Berz Lecture: "Islam in India and Pakistan: From the First Conquests to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)"
Speaker: Dr. Shankar Nair, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Abstract: As the still young Islamic empire spread into the lands of India, Muslims encountered, for perhaps the first time, a grand-scale religious civilization entirely unmentioned in the Qur'an or in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. With so little explicit guidance from their scriptural sources, how were Muslims to navigate this new land or make sense of the incredibly diverse Hindu populations of South Asia? Though one might have expected Muslims to reject Hindus outright as mere idolaters and unbelievers, the historical response was surprisingly nuanced and accommodating. As modern nationalist forces in the region threaten to overturn this legacy, this talk surveys the often forgotten history of Islam in South Asia, offering insights into how the region arrived at the crises it faces today.
Shankar Nair is assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. His research centers on Muslim-Hindu interactions and the encounter between Arabic, Sanskrit, and Persian intellectual cultures in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Translating Wisdom: Hindu-Muslim Intellectual Interactions in Early Modern South Asia (UC Press, 2020) examines the ways in which Hindu and Muslim scholars found vocabularies to make sense of one another's traditions, and also to conceptualize and respond to the fact of religious diversity in the world around them. Nair also researches the intellectual history of the Indian subcontinent more generally, including broader traditions of South Asian Sufism and Hindu and Islamic philosophy and theology.
The event is free and open to the public.
GW Department of Religion and the David and Sherry Berz Fund for Religious Studies.