Faculty

Sarwar Alam

Sarwar Alam

Lecturer

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences

(MEST)-Middle East Studies Program

Phone: 479-856-1440

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Dr. Sarwar Alam teaches at the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies of the University of Arkansas. He received his doctorate from the same university in 2006. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia til 2010.

  • Sufism in South Asia
  • Women, religion, and public policy
  • Religious extremism

Doctor of Philosophy: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Post-doctoral Fellow: Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Master of Science in Human Resource Development: Pittsburg State University, Kansas

Master of Social Science in Political Science: University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Bachelor of Social Science (Honors) in Political Science: University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

PUBLICATIONS
Books:
   Jewels of Honor: The Perception of Power, Powerlessness, and Gender Among Rural
Muslim Women of Bangladesh. New York and London: Palgrave (working on the
comments of the reviewer).

Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy (ISBN 13:9781781792216), eds., Clinton Bennett and Sarwar Alam. London and New York: Bloomsbury (March, 2017).

Articles/Chapters:
"Sufism Without Boundaries: Pluralism, Coexistence, and Interfaith Dialogue in Bangladesh." Comparative Islamic Studies, 9(1): 67-90. [Special Issue 2013, published in October 2015].

“Encountering the Unholy: the Establishment of Political Parties by Sufi Masters in
Modern Bangladesh,” in Clinton Bennett and Charles Ramsey, eds, South Asian
Sufis: Devotion, Deviation and Destiny (pp. 163-180). New York: Continuum, 2012.

“Making the Case for Sainthood in Modern Bangladesh: Narrative Strategies and the
Presentation of Holiness in the Life of Ziaul Haque Maizbhandari,” in Clinton
Bennett and Charles Ramsey, eds, South Asian Sufis: Devotion, Deviation and
Destiny (pp. 123-140). New York: Continuum, 2012.

“Sufi Pluralism in Bangladesh: The Case of Maizbhandariyya Tariqa.” Journal of
South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, vol. xxxiv, no. 1 (Fall 2010): 28-45.

“The Maizbhandariyya Sufi Philosophy of Tolerance.” Marami (Bengali Souvenir of the International Sufi Conference 2010, held in Chittagong, Bangladesh), March 2010, pp. 48-54.

“The Genesis of Islamic Extremism in Bangladesh” (2008) at the online publication
portal of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. Available at
 http://www.humiliationstudies.org/documents/AlamNY08meeting.pdf

“Contesting the Shari‘a: The Prospect of CEDAW in Eliminating Gender
Discrimination in Bangladesh,” Law Vision 10 (2008). [Published by the Department
of Law, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh]

“Islam, Culture, and the Power of Women in a Bangladesh Village,” in Vincent J.
Cornell, ed., Voices of Islam, 5 Vols (pp. 3: 35-56). Westport, CT, and
London: Praeger, 2007.

Book Reviews:
   Hans Harder, Sufism and Saint Veneration in Contemporary Bangladesh: The
Maijbhandaris of Chittagong (Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies.  Landon
and New York, Routledge, 2011) in Journal of Sufi Studies 1:2 (November 2012).

Markus Dressler, Ron Geaves and Gritt Klinkhammer,eds., Sufis in Western Society:
Global Networking and Locality (London and New York: Routledge, 2009) in
International Journal of Middle East Studies 42:2 (May 2010).

WORKS IN PROGRESS
            Articles:          
“In Search of God and Humanity: Vilayet-e-Mutlaqa of Hazrat Delaor Husayn Maizbhandari,” (doi: 10.1558/equinox.27387) in Clinton Bennett and Sarwar Alam, eds, Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy. London and New York: Bloomsbury (March, 2017).
 
How Should We Define Veil in Bengali: The Practice of Parda in a Bangladesh Village.

                        Neglecting the Holy, Risking the Heaven: Rethinking the Analogy of Corpse
And Corpsewasher Between the Disciples and Sufi Masters in the Politics of
Modern Bangladesh.

“O Murshid My Heart Cries for Thee”: Devotionalism and Gender Transgression in the Songs of Maizbhandariyya Tradition in Bangladesh.

The Home is Where My Soul Resides: Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya, Muhammad Iqbal, Communal Identity and the Partition of India.

Tales of Two Sages of South Asia: Bankim Chandra Chottopadhayaya, Muhammad Iqbal and Narratives of Masculinity in the Making of Nations.
 
Archival/oral:
Reconstructing the history of Shah Sultan Qamr al-Din Rumi (d. 1103?). Rumi, popularly known as Shah Sultan Rumi, is one of the pioneering Muslim holy man of South Asia. He landed at the port city of Chittagong of modern Bangladesh in 1053 CE. Accompanied with one hundred twenty followers, he then moved to the southern region of Khulna from where he appointed one of his followers to preach Islam in the region of Bogra.  Shah Sultan moved to the northeastern region of the then Bengal and settled in Madanpur of modern-day Netrakona district of Bangladesh where he sacrificed the rest of the fifty years of his life for the cause of Islam. No research has so far been undertaken to historicize this pioneering Muslim preacher of South Asia.  Based on the collective memories, local legends, and archival documents (documents of tax exemption, waqf or religious endowment) this project intends to (re)construct the historical persona of Shah Sultan Rumi. 

INVITED LECTURE SERIES
Spring 2014. Global Campus, Fayetteville. University of Arkansas. Three lectures on Hinduism.

Fall 2013. Global Campus, Fayetteville. University of Arkansas. Three Lectures on Islam.

PRESENTATIONS
The XXI Quinquennial World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (August 24, 2015 at Erfurt University, Germany): "In Search of God, In Search of Humanity: Vilayat-e-Mutlaqa of Hazrat Delaor Husayn Maizbhandari."

South-East Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (October 18, 2014 at Valle Crucis, North Carolina): “In Search of God, In Search of Humanity: Vilayat-e-Mutlaqa of Hazrat Delaor Husayn Maizbhandari.”
American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting 2013 (November 24, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland): “O Murshid My Heart Cries for Thee”: Devotionalism and Gender Transgression in the Songs of Maizbhandariyya Tradition in Bangladesh.

Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, Regional Meeting 2013 (March 16, 2013 in Greenville, South Carolina):  “Sufism Without Boundaries: The Maizbhandariyya Tariqa and Interfaith Dialogue in Modern Bangladesh.”

South-East Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (October 20, 2012 at Valle Crucis, North Carolina): “Devotionalism and Gender Transgression in the Songs of Miazbhandariyya Tradition in Bangladesh.”
American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting 2011 (November 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California): “Neglecting the Holy, Risking the Heaven: Rethinking the Analogy of Corpse and Corpsewasher Between the Disciples and Sufi Masters in the Politics of Modern Bangladesh.”
American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting 2010 (November 01, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia): “Encountering the Unholy: the Establishment of Political Parties by Sufi Masters in Modern Bangladesh.”

American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting 2009 (November 10, 2009 in Montreal, Canada): “Making the Case for Sainthood in Modern Bangladesh: Narrative Strategies and the Presentation of Holiness in the Life of Ziaul Haque Maizbhandari.”

Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, Regional Meeting 2009 (March 15, 2009 in Greensboro, North Carolina):  “Religious Extremism in Bangladesh: An Analysis.”

Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Annual Conference 2008 (December 12, 2008 at Columbia University, New York): “The Genesis of Islamic Extremism in Bangladesh.”

American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting 2008 (November 3, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois): “Sufi Pluralism in Bangladesh: The Case of the Maizbhandariyya Tariqa”

South-East Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (October 18, 2008 at Valle Crucis, North Carolina): “The Way of Maizbhandariyya: Introduction to a Sufi Movement in Bangladesh.”

Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, Regional Meeting 2008 (March 9, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia):  “Maizbhandariyya Tariqa: A Sufi Movement of Bangladesh.”

Arkansas Political Science Conference (February 2004 in Fayetteville, Arkansas): “Gender Relationships and the Powerlessness of Rural Women in Bangladesh.”