Ali S. Asani

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Ali Sultaan Asani (Sindhi: علي سلطان آساڻي‎; born 1954 in Nairobi, Kenya) is a Kenyan-American academic. He is Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University. He has served as Director of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University as well as the Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

Background[edit]

Asani was born and brought up in Kenya. He is of Sindhi heritage from present-day Pakistan; his ancestors belonged to the Ismaili Khoja community.[1]

Academic career[edit]

After completing his high-school education in Kenya, he attended Harvard College, graduating in 1977 summa cum laude in the Comparative Study of Religion.[2] He continued his graduate work at Harvard in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) specializing in Indo-Muslim Culture, and received his Ph.D. in 1984.[2]He was then appointed assistant professor of Indo-Muslim Culture in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, teaching Urdu-Hindi, Sindhi,[1] Gujarati, and Swahili as well as courses on various aspects of the Islamic tradition. He has since been given tenure and appointed Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures in the Committee on the Study of Religion and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He directs NELC's doctoral program in Indo-Muslim Culture.

A scholar of Islam in South Asia, Asani's research focuses on Shii and Sufi devotional traditions in the region. In addition, he is interested in popular and folk forms of Muslim devotional life, and Muslim communities in the West. He is the recipient of several awards including the Harvard Foundation Medal for his contributions to improving intercultural and inter-racial relations, the Petra C. Shattuck Prize for teaching, the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2020 Harvard Foundation Faculty of the Year Award for his efforts at making Harvard College a more inclusive institution.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Interview with Ali S. Asani, 2011". Sindhi Studies Group. 12 September 2011. Archived from the original on 20 June 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2014. While growing up in Kenya, I was always aware of my family’s ancestral roots in Sindh. My father, in particular, educated me about many aspects of Sindhi culture. I also learnt from him the important cultural and social roles that my grandfather and great-grandfather had played in the history of the Khojah community of Sindh.
  2. ^ a b "Harvard ponders its symbols and spaces". The Harvard Gazette. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2021.

External links[edit]