Abdul Manan Bhat

PhD Candidate


Cohen Hall 223

Abdul Manan is a sixth year doctoral Candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he specializes in Sufism in Persianate societies, Urdu and Persian devotional literature, and embodiment in Islamic literary practice. His dissertation, titled "Postures of Tradition: Poems, Performance, Islamic Adab in the 20th Century", explores Urdu and Persian poetry and its performance across northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan as a site of studying Islamic Adab in the 20th century, with a keen focus on adab's discursive and embodied formations. His project puts in conversation the careers of the Afghan poet Khalilullah Khalili (d.1987) and the Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (d.1984). He works primarily in Persian and Urdu, secondarily in Arabic, Hindi and Kashmiri, and he is currently studying Pashto. Abdul Manan is a Penn Presidential PhD Fellow. 

Abdul Manan is also a practicing Urdu poet. He has recited poetry upon invitation at poetry readings (Mushāiʿrahs) across South Asia, North America and Europe. A number of his ghazals have been sung by prominent classical singers in South Asia. Abdul Manan writes under the pen name ʿAlam (flag or banner). Abdul Manan was born and brought up in Kashmir. 



BA, Religious Studies, Lafayette College

Research Interests

Islamic studies

Sufi Literature

Modernities in the Islamicate


Socialism and Islam

Research Areas
Material and Visual Culture
Modernities, Secularism, and Science
Politics and Publics
Courses Taught

Fall 2019: Teaching Assistant, “Religion and Sports”

Spring 2020: Teaching Assistant, “From Jesus to Mohammad”

Fall 2020: Teaching Assistant, "The Religion of Anime"

Spring 2021: Teaching Assistant, "Satan"

Spring 2023: Instructor of Record, "Introduction to Islam"

Selected Publications

Mushaira: Islam, Poetry and South Asia (https://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/mushaira-islam-poetry-and-south-asia/)

“Future’s Moving Terrains: Land, Language, and a Poetics of Congregation in English Language Notes Vol 61, Issue 2

CV (file)