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Sufis and their Representations: Emotions and Tropes in Texts, Paintings, and Photographs

Sufis and their Representations: Emotions and Tropes in Texts, Paintings, and Photographs
170 St. George Street, JHB room 318
Time: Oct 9th, 4:00 pm End: Oct 9th, 5:30 pm
Interest Categories: Visual Studies (UTM), South Asian, Religion, Study of (FAS), Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC), Art (FAS), 1800-1900, 1500-1800
Lecture by Jamal Elias, University of Pennsylvania

The John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, Religious Materiality in the Indian Ocean World, is pleased to present the Keynote Address for the 3rd Biennial University of Toronto Graduate Student Conference on South Asian Religions:

Jamal Elias, University of Pennsylvania

Sufis and their Representations: Emotions and Tropes in Texts, Paintings, and Photographs

Sufis are frequent subjects in paintings, etchings, photographs and other illustrations in the Persianate world. They appear individually and in groups, as primary subjects as well as in the background. Along with the varied signification they enjoyed in Islamic culture, Sugis and so-called 'dervishes" captured the imaginations of European artists and travelers in the Islamic world, and images of such Sufis enjoyed a notable audience in the colonial period. Through select examples of how Sufis and their emotions are represented in medieval paintings, etchings, and photographs, this paper explores ways in which modern scholars can understand and locate emotions in world from the past where there are no living human experiences of emotion to aid in understanding. Such an exploration is enriched by studying images produced in Islamic civilizational zones as well as European ones, since varied cultural contexts and their rules of representation bear directly on claims to the universality of emotions and their affective appearances.

Jamal Elias is Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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This event is free and open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the Department for the Study of Religions.


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