About: I studied cultural anthropology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Since then I have travelled extensively throughout Asia, particularly China, and have been involved in several film projects there during the last 8 years, in varying capacities as director, editor and camera person. The last project was a 2 hour educational documentary about Chinese Philosophy, completed in 2007.
Project: The title of my PhD project is "Charismatic Embodiment and the Role of a Sufi Order in a Chinese Muslim Community". This study seeks to explore the role of charisma in relation to the leadership, the disciples, and the community in the context of the Da Gongbei branch of the Qadiriyya order in Linxia, Gansu province, China. How is charismatic embodiment understood in the Chinese Sufi context? What is the process whereby charismatic embodiment is achieved for disciples and followers of the order? What is the role of the saint’s tomb, of education and daily religious rituals (such as dhikr prayer) in the embodiment of charisma? What is the role of a Sufi order in a Chinese Muslim community?
Research Interests: Sufism; anthropology of religion; philosophical anthropology; embodiment; processes of self-cultivation; visual anthropology and filmmaking; cinema and art