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Sufism and Islamic Mysticism Subject of Religion Lecture Series at Pomona College

The annual Pomona College Clark-Horowitz Lectures in Religion will be delivered by Ahmet T. Karamustafa and Fatemeh Keshavarz, world-renowned authorities on the study of Islamic mysticism.

The topic was selected because “Sufism or Islamic mysticism offers a rich trove of ideas, literary masterpieces, views on the spiritual development and nurturing of the self, and the master-disciple relationship,” said Pomona College Professor of Religious Studies Zayn Kassam.

Karamustafa, the author of Sufism: The Formative Period (2007), will explore the master-disciple relationship in Sufism. Keshavarz will talk about her book Jasmine and Stars, which explores the Iran that is left out of Azar Naficy’s popular work, Reading Lolita in Tehran, and will also discuss the medieval Persian poet Sa’di (1184-1283 CE), whose works Bustan (Garden) and Gulistan (Rose Garden) contain themes related to human existence in its spiritual and mundane aspects. Both Karamustafa and Keshavarz are professors at Washington University in St. Louis.

The lecture schedule is as follows:

  • Tues., Oct. 25 — Ahmet T. Karamustafa: “Sufis and Popular Saints in Early Islam” — 11 a.m., Pomona College Rose Hills Theatre (170 E. 6th St., Claremont).
  • Wed., Oct. 26 — Fatemeh Keshavarz: “Why I Wrote Jasmine and Stars — 7 p.m., Scripps College Hampton Room (Malott Commons, 345 E. Ninth St., Claremont).
  • Thurs., Oct. 27 — Fatemeh Keshavarz “Cosmopolitan Kinship and Care of the Self: The Legacy of Sa’di of Shiraz” — 11 a.m., Pomona College Rose Hills Theatre (170 E. 6th St., Claremont). 

For more information, contact: (909) 607-2921 or (909) 607-0026 or

The Clark Horowitz Lectures in Religion are a time-honored tradition at Pomona College, dating back to 1924 when a gift by Arthur O. and Laura Clark of Covina, California, made possible an annual series of Clark Lectures in Religion, the first of which was held in 1926. Mr. David Horowitz, class of 1973, has enabled this tradition to continue, with a more recent gift in 1999. Distinguished speakers in this series have included Jonathan Z. Smith, Wendy Doniger, James Barr, Anne-Marie Schimmel, Robert Gibbs and Vincent Cornell, among others.