Participant-observation-based studies that explore a range of Sufi movements operating across the contemporary American religious landscape.
From Rumi poetry and Sufi dancing or whirling, to expressions of Africanicity and the forging of transnational bonds to remote locations in Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, Varieties of American Sufism immerses the reader in diverse expressions of contemporary Sufi religiosity in the United States. It spans more than a century of political, cultural, and embodied relationships with Islam and Muslims. American encounters with mystical Islam were initiated by a romantic quest for Oriental wisdom, flourished in the embrace of Eastern teachings during the countercultural era of New Age religion, were concretized due to late twentieth-century possibilities of travel and immigration to and from Muslim societies, and are now diffused through an explosion of cyber religion in an age of globalization. This collection of in-depth, participant-observation-based studies challenges expectations of uniformity and continuity while provoking stimulating reflection on a range of issues relevant to contemporary Islamic Studies, American religions, multireligious belonging, and new religious movements.
Elliott Bazzano is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Le Moyne College. Marcia Hermansen, Professor of Theology and Director of Islamic World Studies at Loyola University Chicago, has written extensively on both South Asian and American Sufism, as well as trends in global Islam, including migration and gender studies.
"The blend of approaches (historical, ethnographic, documentary, etc.) provides a spectrum of methodologies for the study of Sufism in America." — Martin Nguyen, author of Modern Muslim Theology: Engaging God and the World with Faith and Imagination