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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

COLT 35.06 Sufism as World Literature

In his book, What is World literature?, David Damroch argues that world literature is not a canon of texts but rather a mode of circulation and reading that gains in translation. Sufism, often referred to in English as “Islamic mysticism”, has long appealed to many literary traditions and informed multiple aesthetic projects around the globe –evolving in significance as it circulated through translation. This course offers an introduction to Sufism as world literature. It explores its universal appeal (in such languages as Arabic, English, Persian, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu etc.) and its many aesthetic manifestations and transformations around the world. In addition to the thematic, the course offers an extensive and diverse (but not exhaustive) survey of Sufism’s impact on literary genres.

Some of the questions we will ask in this course include: what happens to Sufi concepts when they cross linguistic borders? Can we speak of multiple literary Sufisms? What about Sufism appealed to various authors? How did authors incorporate Sufi elements into their craft? What kind of worldview did it help them develop? How did literary adaptations of Sufism map over already-existing local mystical and aesthetic traditions?

Advanced reading ability in a second language is preferred but not required as all class materials are available in English.



Cross Listed Courses

MES 15.13

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:INT or LIT; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


  • Spring