Benjamin Gatling

Benjamin Gatling

Benjamin Gatling

Assistant Professor

narrative, performance, the ethnography of communication, Persianate oral traditions, Islam, Central Asia and the Middle East

Benjamin Gatling (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is a folklorist specializing in the expressive culture of Central Asia and the Middle East. Prior to coming to Mason, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where he was a core faculty member of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. His first book, Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2018. His research interests include narrative, performance, the ethnography of communication, Persianate oral traditions, and Islam in Central Asia. He serves as book reviews editor for the Journal of American Folklore and lead list editor of H-Folk, H-Net's network for folklore and ethnology.

Selected Publications

2019. “Islam and Cultural Heritage on Tajik Television,” Central Asian Affairs 6(2), 113-132.

2018. Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan, University of Wisconsin Press.

2016. “Historical Narrative, Intertextuality, and Cultural Continuity in Post-Soviet Tajikistan,” Journal of Folklore Research 53(1), 41-65.

2015.  “Abdulhaĭ Mujaxarfī and the Contemporary Reception of Tajik Oral Poetry.” In Iranian Languages and Literatures of Central Asia: From the 18th Century to the Present, eds. Matteo De Chiara and Evelin Grassi, Paris: Association pour l’Avancement des Études Iraniennes (Cahiers de Studia Iranica, 57), 207-231.

2013. “The Guide after Rumi: tradition and its foil in Tajik Sufism,” Nova Religio 17(1), 1-23.

2013. “Tradition, Stigma, and Inclusion: overcoming obstacles to educational access in Tajikistan.” In Learning to See Invisible Children: inclusion of children with disabilities in Central Asia, eds. Martyn Rouse and Kate Lapham, Central European University Press, 21-34.  Published in Russian as “Traditsiya, stigma i inklyuziya: preodolenie prepyatstviy k polucheniyu obrazovaniya v Tadzhikistane,” in Journal of Social Policy Studies, 11(4), 457-470.

2010. “Negotiations in Performance,” Folklore Forum 40(1).

Courses Taught

ENGH 315 Introduction to Folklore and Folklife

ENGH 412/590 Personal Experience Narrative 

ENGH 412/591 Folklore in the Middle East and Central Asia 

ENGH 414/591 Folklore and the Supernatural

ENGH 484 Writing Ethnography

ENGH 591 The Ethnography of Communication

HNRS 353 Contemporary Central Asia