Keynote Speakers

Jo-Ann Gross


Jo-Ann Gross is Professor of Middle Eastern and Central Eurasian History at The College of New Jersey. Her research focuses on early modern and modern Iran and Central Asia, with an emphasis on Ismailism in the Pamir and the social history of Sufism, shrines and hagiographic narrative traditions. She has published widely on aspects of Sufism in Central Asia and the role of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, shrine culture in Tajikistan, and Ismailism in Badakhshan. Her book publications includeSufism in Central Asia: New Perspectives on Sufi Traditions, 15th-21st Centuries, co-edited with Devin DeWeese(Brill Publishers, Handbuch der Orientalistik, Uralic and Central Asian Studies, 2018); The Letters of Khwaja ‘Ubayd Allah Ahrar and his Associates, co-authored with AsomUrunbaev (Brill, 2002), and Muslims in Central Asia: Expressions of Identity and Change (ed. Jo-Ann Gross, Duke UP, 1992).  She is guest-editor ofa volume of the Journal of Persianate Studies (vol. 4, 2011) on “The Pamir: Shrine Traditions, Human Ecology and Identity,” and her most recent articles include, “The Biographical Tradition of Muhammad Bashara in Penjakent: Islamic Hagiography in Tajikistan, in Sufism in Central Asia: New Perspectives on Sufi Traditions, 15th-21st Centuries, ed. by Jo-Ann Gross and Devin DeWeese (Brill, 2018), “Preliminary Notes on the Nasab-nāmasof Badakhshan,” Shii Studies Review 2 (2018), 315-321, and “The Shrinescapes and Narrative Traditions of Khoja IshaqKhuttalani,” in Saintly Spheres and Islamic Landscapes, ed. by Daphna Ephrat, Ethel Sara Wolper and PauloPinto (Brill Publishers, forthcoming).


She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) since 2003, including the elected position of Vice-President from 2012-2015. She is the founder and director of the Central Eurasia Research Fund (CERF) and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Persianate Studies.

Prof. Gross’ current research focuses on the genealogical and documentary history (15th century to the present) of theNizari Ismailis of Badakhshan in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Since 2004, Prof. Gross has carried out archival and field research in Badakhshan to locate and photograph privately-held nasab-nāmasand interview members of the Ismaili community. She is the recent recipient of a 3-year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Collaborative Research Grant (2017-2020) for her project on “Ismailism in Badakhshan: Genealogical and Documentary History.”Prof. Gross is currently a Visiting Research Collaborator at the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University. She and her research collaboratorsrecently completed the creation of an open access digital repository at Princeton University Library, which contains the first corpus of Ismaili documents from Badakhshan available online. She is presently preparing a co-authored book manuscript on Ismaili genealogical traditions in the Pamir (based on the documentary corpus), for which she intends to expand her research to include the culture of genealogical documentation in the Hindukush region of Chitral, Hunza and Gilgit.


Dr. Hermann Kreutzmann

Current position
2005-present Professor of Human Geography, Director Centre for Development Studies
in the Institute of Geographic Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin
Principle Investigator ‘Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Muslim
Positions held
1996-2005 Chair of Cultural Geography and Development Studies; Director of the
Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg
1996 Heisenberg Fellow of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
1994-1995 Visiting Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, Henry M.
Jackson School of International Studies
1989-1994 Research Associate at the Department of Geography, Bonn University
1989-1991 Field Director in the DFG-SPP ‘Culture Area Karakoram’
1985-1989 Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography, Freie Universität


Alberto Cacopardo, Professor University of Florence

Augusto Cacopardo, Professor University of Florence

Henrik Liljegren, Professor Stockholm University 

Sadaf Munshi, Professor North Texas University