I work on Islam in the Formative Period, in particular Sufism, Sufi Metaphysics, and Gender, and Progressive Islam in North America. My book, A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism was released by SUNY Press in 2010. I am a co-editor of the festschrift A Jihad for Justice: Honoring the Life and Work of Amina Wadud. With Yasmin Amin and Ahmed Elewa, I am preparing translation of the women’s biographies in Ibn al-Jawzi’s Sifat al-safwa with a summary introduction. I am presently writing the chapter on Pious, Mystic, and Sufi Women for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Sufism edited by Lloyd Ridgeon. My most recent articles are “‘God Loves Me’: Early Pious and Sufi Women and the Theological Debate over God’s Love” in the Journal for Islamic Studies, and “‘I am One of the People’: A Survey and Analysis of Legal Arguments on Woman-led Prayer in Islam” in The Journal of Law and Religion. I am preparing two more articles in a series of 3 about early pious and Sufi women. The next article is a social history of the life of the early pietist Hafsa bint Sirin grounded in an analysis of the efforts of biographers–Sufi biographers and authors in particular–to construct silence and seclusion as the ideal of female piety. The final article will be a social historical analysis of depictions of early pious and Sufi women’s sexuality and bodies in the biographical literature. I helped found the Islamic Mysticism Group at the AAR, served on it’s steering committee for six years and served as co-chair for three years. I teach Islam related courses at the University of Toronto.
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Contact me at laury dot silvers at utoronto dot ca