Orthodoxy, heterodoxies, and reform: Constructing Britain's Islamic universe through the official mind, 1860 - 1914.
Supervisor: Prof. Faisal Devji
My thesis concerns how those responsible for formulating and executing British imperial policy in post-1857 India and the Middle East conceptualized Islam in an age of growing Muslim sectarian consciousness and revivalism. In attempting to come to terms with the diversity of Islam in the late nineteenth century, classic British approaches to the question of Islamic 'orthodoxy' - the measure of authenticity - were challenged by engagement with the sectarian and reformist movements of the period. Their apparently novel means of contesting the traditional structures of authority deemed to define Islam prompted a search among British scholars, travelers, and officials for more abstract essences of Islam through which the religion could be revitalized in partnership with Britain's imperial mission.