Ruffle, Karen

Associate ProfessorHistory of Religions

Contact Information

EH 207B
Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Rd., Erindale Hall
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
Office Hours: 
On leave July 2017 to June 2018

Karen Ruffle specializes in Indo-Persian Shiʿism. Her research and teaching interests focus on devotional texts, ritual practice, and Shiʿi material practices in South Asia. She has conducted field research in India, Pakistan, Iran, and Syria. Ruffle obtained her BA in Religion from Middlebury College and her MA and PhD in Religious Studies with a specialization in History of Religions from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her first book, Gender, Sainthood, and Everyday Practice in South Asian Shi’ism, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2011. Ruffle’s most current research and publications focus on issues of material practices in the Deccan region of Indian, particularly role of relics and the senses in shaping Shiʿism under the Qutb Shahi sultans in the 16th and 17th centuries. She is currently working on her second monograph, which is tentatively titled, Sensate Devotion: Invoking the ʿAlam in Qutb Shahi Shiʿism.


Shi'ism; Islam in South Asia; Theories of Sainthood; Islam and material culture studies; aesthetics and Indo-Islamic sensoria; Indian Ocean studies
B.A. (Religion, Middlebury College)
M.A. (Religious Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Ph.D. (Religious Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)