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Places of Peace and Power: a study of shrines among Ismailis of Badakhshan, Tajikistan.

MAVLONAZAROV, SORBON (2018) Places of Peace and Power: a study of shrines among Ismailis of Badakhshan, Tajikistan. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 21 July 2024.


This study examines the shrine culture of the minority community of Shi’i Imami Ismaili Muslims who reside in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) of Tajikistan. Through ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the region this project explores how people define, understand and perceive their sacred sites, and the meanings they attribute to them, in particular looking at the significance of the religious beliefs, rituals, legends and practices associated with their shrines. Among the diverse religious rituals and practices that are peculiar to Tajik Badakhshan, the shrine culture probably has an exceptional place in the community. The region encompasses numerous and varied forms of shrines that can be categorised into the following: a) Shrines which are associated with nature: trees, unusual stones, rivers, springs, rock formations and in modern times shrine-museums. b) Shrines which are associated with holy men: awliyās (saints) or pirs (spiritual guides or masters). This study introduces and identifies a religio-cultural tradition of Badakhshan and draws attention to the Ismaili tradition in one particular geographic, historical and cultural context. Such an examination contributes to the understanding of the diversity both the country and the religion. The ethnographic focus of this study is a remote Ismaili area that gives us an opportunity to explore how an isolated community has maintained a set of socio-cultural traditions while being disconnected from rest of the Ismaili groups. I explore the tactics local people adopted to preserve and reproduce their socio-cultural traditions and maintained a distinct social and cultural identity from majority non-Ismaili surrounding the region.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Jul 2018 12:29

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