Companions on the Way: Sufism in 21st Century Oakland

Emily’s doctoral project, Companions on the Way: Sufism in 21st Century Oakland, is an ethnographic study of a Sufi community in Oakland, California, amidst late-stage capitalism and its various implications. This research, which employs a Lived Religion theoretical and methodological approach, is based on seven years of fieldwork and sheds light on the daily lives of the community. This project will provide a window into the ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ of ‘religion’ in daily life, with the aim of complexifying understandings of Sufism and Islam, contemporary mysticism, and new religious movements. It will include an analysis of the community’s philosophy and pedagogical approach, with an emphasis on the relationship between the Teacher and the Disciple, as well as practices such as muhasaba (self-examination), sohbet (spiritual conversation), and asceticism.

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