Current Institutional Affiliation
Community Business Development Manager, Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Religion, University of Chicago
Conversion and Community: Religious Expansion and the Turkic Peoples in the Islamic Discourses of Samanid Central Asia (875-1005 C.E.)

Early Islamic discourse about conversion connected it to the establishment of Islamic political hegemony. During the Samanid period of Central Asia, a paradigm rises to greater prominence within Islamic discourses in which "missionary" figures play a significant role in converting groups outside the political control of lslamic states. Looking at reports about the conversion of the Turkic peoples during this period, I will argue that these reports indicate and foster a re-conceptualization of Islam as a religious community along lines analogous to the concept of "universal religion." Islamic manuscripts in Arabic and Persian and several experts on Samanid literature and Central Asian religious history at the Biruni Oriental Institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, will be important resources for this project.