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Afsar Mohammad

Senior Lecturer

Williams Hall 811
215-898-8897

Education

Ph.D.  Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010

Bio

Afsar Mohammad is Lecturer of Foreign Languages at the South Asia Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Before relocating to Penn, he has taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas at Austin for more than a decade. His courses on South Asia and the Novel, Indian Poetry and Religions, Resistance literatures of South Asia, Islamic cultures and literatures of South Asia usually blend various sources of Urdu, Hindi and Telugu languages. Recently, Afsar has expanded his research and teaching to new areas  such as urban  practices of Islam and Sufism in South India. He has published more than a dozen essays in various scholarly journals and edited volumes published in the USA and Europe.

Afsar is currently working on two books: 1.  A Garden of Mirrors: Vernacular Sufi Poetics in South India, with a focus on contemporary Muslim writing in Telugu and Urdu; 2. Witnessing Police Action: Hindu-Muslim Dialogue and the Public Sphere in Telangana, 1948 to the present. Archival completed, chapters currently being drafted.

Afsar is a celebrated poet, short story writer and literary critic in his home language Telugu. He has published four volumes of poetry in Telugu and recognized as a trend-setting poet and literary critic. His writings on local Hindu- Muslim interfaces in Andhra/Telangana have created huge debates and controversies too. His two books on literary essays have opened up new questions of representations and resistance in the Telugu literary culture. He won the India’s prestigious national award “Saraswathi Bhasha Samman” for his contributions to Telugu poetry since 1980. He is now editing a Telugu web weekly magazine “Saranga.” 

Research Interests

South Asian Islam and Hinduism, Religions and literatures in South India; Devotional and Public Ritual Performances in South India; Ethnography of South Asia; Religious Conflicts and Resolution; Indian languages and literature (Hindi, Urdu and Telugu). 

Selected Publications

 

2013: The Festival of Pirs: Popular Islam and Shared Devotion in South India, Oxford University Press, New York. 

 

Essays

2015: “Metal Hands, Red Threads, and Green Flags: Materializing  Islamic Devotion in South India” in edited volume on material Religions in South Asia, Ed: Tracy Pintchman and Corinne Dempsey, SUNY Press.

2013: “Burn the Sari or Save the Sari? Dress as Form of Action in Two Feminist Poems”, in Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, Co-authored with Bonnie Zare, Calgary, University of Calgary, pp. 69-86. 

2011: “Sita is Fatima and Fatima is Sita” Performing Sita and Fatima in a Muslim Public Ritual, the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, fall 2011, pp.173-196.

2010: “Telling Stories: Hindu-Muslim Worship in South India”, The Journal of Hindu Studies, June 2010. pp 1-32.

 

Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Edited Book Volumes

2016: “The Power of the Little Hajj: Muslim Pilgrimage in South India,” in Religious Travels in India, ed. Andrea Marion Pinkney, Oxford University Press.

2013: “Sri Venkateswara and Tirupati,” Introducing Hinduism, Ed: Pratap Penumala, UK: Acumen Publishers.

2013: “The Pilgrimage for the Pir: Ziyarat Darsanam in South India,” Volume on Classical and Contemporary Issues in Indian Studies, edited by Pratap Penumala and Jonathan Duquette, New Delhi: DK Printworld, pp. 425-439.

2010: "Following the Pir: Temporary Asceticism and Village Religion in South India", in: Science of Ritual (Congress Proceedings). General ed.: Axel Michaels. Part 14: Ritual Transfer. Eds.: Gita Dharampal-Frick and Robert Langer. (Series: “Ritual Dynamics”) Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 141-196. 

 

Literary Publications (A selected list of publications in Telugu)

2010: Aneka, an Anthology of Modern Telugu Poetry, Hyderabad: Saranga Books.

2009: Voori chivara (The End of the village, collections of poems in Telugu), Khammam: Kowmudi Mudrana.     

2008: Katha- sthaanikata (Literary Essays in Telugu), Hyderabad: Spruha Books.

2002: Valasa (Migration). Poetry. Khammam: Kowmudi   Mudrana. 

1992: Adhunikata: Atyadhunikata (Modernity- Postmodernity). Literary Criticism. Tenali: Poetry Forum.

1991: Ivala (Today).  Poetry. Khammam: Ravali Prachurana.

1986: Rakta Sparsa (A Feel of Blood), Khammam: Ravali Prachurana.

 

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