From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam and Culture in Central Asia (International Library of Central Asia Studies)

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9781848853096: From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam and Culture in Central Asia (International Library of Central Asia Studies)

Women have traditionally played a vital part in Islam throughout Central Asia -- the vast area from the Caspian Sea to Siberia. With this ground-breaking and original study, Razia Sultanova examines the experiences of Muslim women in the region and the ways in which religion has shaped their daily lives and continues to do so today. From Shamanism to Sufism explores the fundamental interplay between religious belief and the cultural heritage of music and dance and is the first book to focus particularly on the role of women. 

Ritual and music are at the heart of Central Asian and Islamic culture, not only at weddings and funerals but in all aspects of everyday life. Through her in-depth analysis of these facets of cultural life within Central Asian society, From Shamanism to Sufism offers important insights into the lives of the societies in the region. The role of women has often been neglected in studies of religious culture and this book fills an enormous gap, restoring women to their rightful historical and cultural context. It will be essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the History or Religion of Central Asia or in Global Islam.

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About the Author:

Razia Sultanova is Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge and of the Central Asia Forum. She has also worked as a Research Fellow at Goldsmith's College and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She graduated from Uzbek State Conservatory and was awarded her PhD by Moscow State Conservatory, where she was Visiting Professor. She has written extensively on the culture of Central Asia and contributed to Central Asian Republics: Bards of the Golden Road, World Music: The Rough Guide as well as journals in Britain, France and Germany.


'Sultanova has written a magnificent portrait of the social life and mores of the mysterious and little known but largest land mass in the world. Her remarkable book portrays past and present Central Asia through its music and lifestyle that includes Shamanism and popular Sufism. A wonderful read.' - Ahmed Rashid, author of 'Taliban'; 'This book shows the role played by Central Asian women in the harmonisation of non-Muslim and Muslim spiritual and ethical trends and arts in Shamanism and popular Sufism. It gives insight into the interconnection between music and mysticism and the mentality of Sufi female musicians and singers.' - Thierry Zarcone, Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris; 'An insightful work that scholars from many disciplines will enjoy.' - Earle Waugh, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Alberta

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