Research Interests: Anthropology of religion, Sociology of caste, Anthropology of ethics, Historical Anthropology, Ethnography, Islam and South Asia.
Safwan Amir is a social anthropologist with a keen interest in histories of the present. He specialises in anthropology of religion and sociology of caste with a focus on Muslim lifeworlds. Prior to joining Ahmedabad University, he was at Krea University as a Senior Research Associate for the World Humanities Report – India/South Asia, a joint initiative by the CHCI and CIPSH, in collaboration with UNESCO, and supported by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. He was a Fulbright Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University in New York between 2017 and 2018.
He is trained in a variety of disciplines that include sociology/anthropology, history, literature, and Islamic studies. He holds a Masters in sociology from the Delhi School of Economics and a Bachelors in English Honours from Ramjas College, Delhi University. Professor Amir is currently working on a manuscript which is a revision of his PhD dissertation titled The Muslim Barbers of Malabar: Histories of Contempt and Ethics of Possibility. As an Assistant Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, he contributes to building linkages between humanities and social sciences intellectually.
Safwan Amir’s research area broadly covers Islam and South Asia across premodern and modern eras. He is particularly interested in questions around embodiment, time, and work. His work is primarily ethnographic research and utilises sources as varied as novels, poems, supplications, songs, jurisprudence manuals, ethical booklets, oral narratives, rejected articles, and writings on water. Professor Amir’s PhD, a historical anthropology, looks at how the barber, from a position of possibilities in the past, comes to be the subject of contempt in the contemporary. It is an intervention in the domains of “Caste and Islam” and “Anthropology of Islam”.