Jonah Blank

Jonah Blank

Adjunct Lecturer
South Asia Studies

Background and Education

Jonah Blank is adjunct lecturer with the South Asia Studies program and  a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. An anthropologist by training, he is author of the books Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam & Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras, and Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana through India. From 1999-2011, Dr. Blank served as Policy Director for South and Southeast Asia on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Before entering government service, he served as senior editor and foreign correspondent for US News & World Report, where he reported from Indonesia, India, Nepal and Pakistan. In his life as an anthropologist, Dr. Blank was the first outside researcher to conduct ethnographic fieldwork among the Daudi Bohras, a Shi'a Muslim community with approximately one million adherents throughout South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, and other parts of the world; his research focused on how a traditionalist community used the tools of modernity to combat the threats posed by modernity. Dr. Blank began his career in Japan, as finance editor of Tokyo's Asahi Evening News. He has been a reporter for Fortune magazine, and has written for publications ranging from Foreign Affairs to The New Yorker to The Washington Post. Dr. Blank received his MA and PhD from Harvard University.


2015-04-14 00:00:00 
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Fall 2017 
Whether manifes...
Whether manifested by the vexed Babri Masjid issue in India, the rise of Islamist parties in Pakistan and Bangladesh or the influence of Buddhist monks on the civil war in Sri Lanka, religion dominates many political debates throughout South Asia. This course analyzes the impact of religion (especially Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism) on policy—and the impact of politics on the transformations of the faiths themselves. Views sectarian conflict (whether based on religion or caste) through the lenses of anthropology and political science.

09-05-2017 to 12-11-2017 | W 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM