Tanvir Ahmed

Tanvir Ahmed
2020-2021 GRADUATE FELLOW

Biography

Tanvir Ahmed is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies. The subject of his dissertation, “Radical Shadows of God: Islam and Insurrection in Medieval Southwest Asia,” is the conceptualization and representation of rebellious behaviors in Persianate societies between the 13th and 16th centuries C.E. In it, he focuses on how the matter of rebellion was treated in historical, literary, legal, and hagiographical discourses produced across Afghan, Iranian, and Indian contexts of the period. The project seeks to reconstruct, as much as possible, the diverse mentalities of medieval rebels in an effort to shed some light on their understandings of the world. It hopes to demonstrate that such rebels challenged not only the dominant sociopolitical authorities in their contexts, but the social and discursive traditions supporting those authorities as well. The ultimate aim is to question narrative practices in the theorization of Islam that unduly privilege elite productions, at the cost of examining how Islam was engaged by artisans, farmers, dervishes, informal militias, and others in their pursuit of sociopolitical agendas and opposition to the rapacity of the ruling classes.