Rao Mohsin Ali Noor is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with interests in the history of the early modern Islamicate world in general, and the socio-religious and intellectual history of the early modern Ottoman Empire in particular. His ongoing PhD dissertation is titled, “Contending with Crisis: Embodied Pieties, Attendant Anxieties and the Ottoman Struggle for Order in the 17th Century”. Broadly put, it charts how the sacred body in its saintly, iconographic and ritualistic guises—as evidenced by a diverse array of Ottoman hagiographic and literary sources—was the battleground for the various socio-political and religious debates of the Ottoman 17thcentury, a time when inflation, currency debasement, widespread banditry, socio-political strife and climatic upheaval led to a widespread disintegration of village life in Anatolia and the Balkans. His work therefore has strong parallels to contemporary debates on religion, society and politics during the unprecedented age of the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerating climate change and widespread income inequality.
Mohsin received an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago in 2016 and a BA in History from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2014.