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A Divine Flood Across the Atlantic: Black American Sufis in the 20th Century

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This talk will provide an overview of the history of Black American engagements with Sufism over the course of the twentieth century. Dr. Miller will discuss early examples of these encounters including Black American Muslims’ relationships with representatives of West and North African Sufi orders forged in New York City during the 1930s, as well as prominent Black American Imam’s discovery of South Asian Sufi orders while traveling throughout the Muslim world in the 1950s. He will further discuss Black American Muslims’ embrace of global Sufi communities headquartered in Senegal and Sudan during the 1970s and 80s, and how Sufism has since become influential among Muslims in urban spaces throughout the US. 


Dr. Rasul Miller is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. His work explores the histories of Black Muslim communities in the Atlantic world, Black radicalism and its impact on social and cultural movements in the twentieth century U.S., Black internationalism, and West African intellectual history. Dr. Miller's current book project, Black World Revelation: Islam, Race and Radical Internationalism in Twentieth-Century New York City examines the origins of Black orthodox Muslim congregations in and around New York City, and the cultural and political orientations that characterized subsequent communities of Black Muslims in the U.S. who built robust, transnational networks as they actively engaged traditions and communities of Muslims on the African continent. He received his PhD in History and Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and his BA in Economics and African & African American Studies from Duke University.


This event is part of Stanford Global Studies' Oceanic Imaginaries, a multi-year initiative that adopts the world's oceans as an analytical framework for advancing cross-regional, interdisciplinary research on timely global topics. 


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