For the Record: Nov. 26, 2013

Azfar Moin

For the Record: Nov. 26, 2013

Book cover of 'The Millennial Sovereign' by A. Azfar Moin, SMUAzfar Moin, William P. Clements Department of History, Dedman College, has won two major awards this fall for his first book. The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (Columbia University Press) earned the American Academy of Religion’s 2013 award for Best First Book in the History of Religions. It also received the 2013 John F. Richards Prize, awarded annually by the American Historical Association, as the most distinguished work of scholarship on South Asian history published in English. This prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in January 2014.

santiago-canon-valencia-solo-cdSantiago Cañón Valencia, a graduate student in the Division of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, released a new performance CD, Solo, in March 2013. The Strad magazine has praised the 18-year-old Colombian’s “technically flawless” and “simply tremendous” playing, calling the CD “one of the most persuasive programmes of solo cello music … to date.” He is a Performer’s Diploma candidate in cello under the instruction of Meadows professor and international concert artist Andrés Díaz.

November 26, 2013|Faculty in the News, For the Record|

For the Record: Feb. 26, 2013

Jodi Cooley, Physics, Dedman College, was named by the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women Physicists as its December 2012 CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month. She was nominated by students as “a physicist who has had an impact on [their] life or career, both past and present.” The award is open to students, teachers or any woman doing physics-related work.

Donna Dover, Office of the Provost, received a 2012 Award of Merit in a competition sponsored by the North Texas Lone Star Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. She was honored for her work on the print edition of SMU’s 2012-13 General Information Undergraduate Catalog. 

Louis Jacobs, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College, received the 2012 Skoog Cup from the Science Teachers Association of Texas for his “significant contributions to advancing quality science education.” The teacher association presents the Skoog Cup annually to a deserving faculty or staff member at a Texas college or university for a sustained record of leadership in science education, advocacy for quality K-12 science education for all students, contributions to science, and development of effective programs for pre-service and in-service teachers of science. Jacobs received the award at the Annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, which took place in Corpus Christi in November.

K. Shelette Stewart, Executive Education, Cox School of Business, has received the 2012 Christian Literary Award in the Christian Living category for her book, Revelations in Business: Connecting Your Business Plan with God’s Purpose and Plan for Your Life (Tate Publishing and Enterprises). The award was presented in a ceremony that took place in November.

Michael McLendon, Higher Education Policy and Leadership, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, delivered a keynote address to the 2012 College of Education Dean’s Symposium at Florida State University in Tallahassee in October. The symposium’s theme, “Shared Dreams, Separate Interests: Higher Education Finance & Accountability,” focused on higher education performance, accountability and finance in an era of intense scrutiny of higher education in the United States and internationally.

Azfar Moin, History, Dedman College, presented a paper at the 2012 South Asia Research and Information Institute (SARII) conference at SMU in September. The SARII conference brings together leading historians of South Asia and specialists of Indo-Muslim cultures. Its 2012 theme of “Cities, Courts, and Saints” gathered new research on the way Islam spread across and became part of the Indian subcontinent.

Wes Abel and Jon Haghayeghi, Master’s degree candidates in the Department of Economics, Dedman College, were among three U.S. students chosen to participate in the ISEO Institute’s “Learn Economics from Nobel Prize Laureates” summer program June 23-30, 2012 in Iseo, Italy. Among the Summer 2012 participating Nobel laureates were Peter Diamond and Michael Spence.

February 26, 2013|For the Record|

Research: A field-changing view of divine kingship in Islam

'The Millennial Sovereign' by Azfar Moin, book coverIn a new and potentially field-changing study, SMU historian Azfar Moin explores why Muslim sovereigns in the early modern era began to imitate the exalted nature of Sufi saints.

Uncovering a startling but widespread phenomenon, Moin shows how the charismatic pull of sainthood (wilayat) — rather than the draw of religious law (sharia) or holy war (jihad) —inspired a new style of sovereignty in Islam. Moin’s research is published in his new book, The Millennial Sovereign (Columbia University Press, 2012).

At the end of the 16th century and the turn of the first Islamic millennium, the powerful Mughal emperor Akbar declared himself the most sacred being on earth. The holiest of all saints and above the distinctions of religion, he styled himself as the messiah reborn. Yet the Mughal emperor was not alone in doing so.

The title of the book reflects the Mughal emperors’ messianic and Sufi beliefs, which also led these Muslim rulers to explore European Christianity, says Moin, an expert on the history of South Asia who teaches in the Clements Department of History of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“The Mughal emperors of 16th- and 17th-century India — of Taj Mahal fame — were also avid collectors of Christian art. They even invited Jesuit missionaries to discuss the Bible. At first the Catholic priests were delighted that such powerful Muslim kings were attracted to Christianity, but they eventually realized that their hosts were more interested in the millennium,” Moin says.

“The first millennium of Islam occurred at the end of the 16th century,” he says. “The Mughals used this religiously charged moment to style themselves as saintly and messianic sovereigns. They called their queens ‘The Mary of the Age’ and ‘Of the Stature of Mary.’ This didn’t mean that they had turned Christian, but that they were Jesus-like in their sacredness.”

“This is a brilliant book,” said South Asia expert Francis Robinson, a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London. “It is the most innovative contribution to our understanding of Mughal history of my time. As a work of the first importance, and a step change in our knowledge of 16th-century India, it must be read by anyone interested in the fields of Islamic kingship, millenarianism and astrology in the Muslim world, and in the early modern world in general.”— Columbia University Press

> Read the full story from the SMU Research blog

September 19, 2012|For the Record, Research|
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