This dissertation examines the bȏyāti community of Bangladesh, a network of Sufi bards and interlocutors who engage in a shrine-based debate performance, and the manner in which their aggregative musicality is structured around an extemporized form of compositional devotionalism. Individual elements of this stylized genre’s versified, saintly, musical, and gestured components combine in creative ways in order to navigate a spectrum of Bengali Muslim subjectivities, the sprawling routes of shrine networks within the nation, and the bȏyāti community’s own liminal identity in popular discourse. This study seeks further to articulate how a discursive and dialectical performance of song and narrative reifies an evocation of otherness brought on by three major border configurations in the twentieth century, a lengthy and complicated relationship with Muslim piety, and distinctive geopolitical relationships between Bangladesh and other South Asian nation states, the greater Muslim world, and its own transglobal citizenry.




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