Events


Making Genealogies, Creating Pasts: Shajre-nasb as an alternative archival practice in Kashmir w/ Idrees Kanth

In our third lecture in our on-going seminar series, Idrees Kanth explores Shajre nasb as an archival genealogy that challenges the fundamental ideas of statism.

Agenda

ABSTRACT

Shajre nasb can be described as a mapping exercise that provides a genealogical account of a particular khandan (clan). It is an old practice that has usually involved the Syed families of Kashmir who claim to have descended directly from the family of the Prophet Muhammad, and therefore do not perceive themselves as originally Kashmiri. As a document it represents a story of origins, belonging and migration while embodying particular families with a sense of privilege and power. Often these stories involve Islamic preachers who are supposed to have come over to Kashmir from places like Hamdan, Kasahan, Andrab, etc., in West Asia after the fourteenth century to spread Islam in the Valley. The shajre nasb could thus also be approached as an alternative archive and an archival practice that reconfigures Kashmir’s past as a narrative of movement and mobility that challenges Statist accounts of its history.

 

BIO

Idrees Kanth earned his MA and PhD in History from Leiden University in the Netherlands. His area of interest and focus is modern and early modern Kashmir and South Asian history, Islamic history and Archives and Public histories.  He has taught in universities in Leiden, Delhi and Kashmir. He is currently affiliated with Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden University.

Register by email: [email protected]

Details

  • June 14, 2022
  • 17:00
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Sociohistorical and Cultural Relations in Premodern Mediterranean Societies through Literature and Folklore between the 11th and 17th Centuries

The research team of the ERC funded research project Arabic Poetry in the Cairo Genizah (APCG), at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, is pleased to invite you to participate in their international conference “Sociohistorical and Cultural Relations in Premodern Mediterranean Societies through Literature and Folklore between the 11th and 17th Centuries”.

15th & 16th of June, 2023

Agenda

Introduction:

The pre-modern Mediterranean was composed of diverse ethnic groups, religions and societies, making it a rich environment for ethnoreligious and sociocultural exchange. Increased access to digitised manuscript collections and fragmentary archive provides exciting opportunities to consider the relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims across the Mediterranean through the investigation of literary materials – poems, fables, folk stories, legends, and myth, as well as the sentiments expressed in manuscripts, documents, letters, and personal accounts. An example is the fragments of medieval and early modern Arabic poetry from the Genizah collection, from which the APCG team at Trinity College Dublin study the sociocultural and intellectual life of the Jewish community and the mutual influence between the Muslim and Jewish cultures.

The Genizah fragments represent literary history which covers almost a thousand years of cultural production, giving insights into the multicultural aspects of the Mediterranean societies of the day, demonstrating a significant cultural exchange through, inter alia, poetic literature. This conference thus seeks papers on the theme of the educational and historical context of relations and between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, among others, through analysing the above works of high culture and mainstream literature. It also aims to uncover new perspectives on their sociocultural relations and exchanges, and highlight the extent of their interdependency.

In the same context, collections of medieval and early modern fragments and manuscripts, including letters, legal or official documents, diwans of poetry, mythic tales or fables, popular histories, or personal narratives, are accessible through numerous libraries and archives. An examination of these documents reveals aspects of the “micro” and “macro” historical relations across the Mediterranean. Studying individual documents or works of literature can both present unique perspectives and reveal particular challenges to a balanced interpretation of the nature of intercommunal relations, or to educational and cultural dependencies as they were realised through diverse communities over periods of hundreds of years in the pre-modern Mediterranean.

Through this conference, we seek to bring together scholars, including PhD researchers of various disciplines, including, but not limited to, History (especially sociocultural and educational histories), Literature, Philology, Anthropology, Manuscript Sciences, Archaeology, Philosophy, Sociology, Theology and Religious Studies including papers focusing on theory and methodology. We are looking forward to engaging discussions on the opportunities and challenges inherent in diverse subjects for the purpose of writing history. The convenors plan to publish an open-access volume of papers on the theme of the Conference, particularly Jewish-Christian-Muslim sociocultural and educational histories in the pre-modern Mediterranean.

 

The conference committee will be pleased to accept 20-minute research papers. Themes may include but are not limited to:

  • relationships between Jews, Christians, and Muslims through literature (especially poetry), culture, and languages;
  • inter-communal relations across the Mediterranean through social and educational history;
  • literary and cultural exchanges;
  • evidence of interrelations through travel literature;
  • education and pedagogy: How did the educational and pedagogical systems of each religion reflect shared virtues and intercultural aspects while simultaneously exhibiting discrete differences?
  • prominent myths and prophecies of the relationships and communications between Jews, Christians, Muslims and other Mediterranean communities;
  • popular images of interactions between minority and majority communities, particularly through literature, fragments, travels and folklore
  • morality and ethics;
  • archaeological evidence of sociocultural and educational relations;
  • influences of intellectual communications on medicine, science, nature etc
  • dynamics between popular and academic perceptions of relationships between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, among others;
  • the construction of communications between Jews, Christians and Muslims in encyclopaedias, documentaries, images, and texts

 

Abstract of Paper and Panel Proposals:

We welcome proposals for papers and panels. Paper proposals should consist of an approximately 250-300 word abstract and a brief biographical note, including research interests and the most relevant publications. Panel proposals should nominate a chair for the session and include a session abstract, title and a brief abstract for each participant’s paper, along with a brief bio.

 

All proposals should be submitted to Ahmed M. A. Sheir ([email protected]) and Muhammad Imran khan ([email protected]), by 31st September 2022.

 

Costs and Publication:

A bursary will be provided towards travel and accommodation costs and the selected papers will be published in an open-access volume.

 

We look forward to welcoming you to the event!

Details

  • June 15, 2023
Register now

History and Anthropology Through Literature: Approaches & Methodologies to the Study of Medieval and Modern Texts and Manuscripts

The Cairo Genizah is a treasure trove of medieval and early-modern manuscripts stored away in Egypt’s Ben Ezra Synagogue over nearly a thousand years. All manner of written texts, from lost works of Jewish literary legend to the mundane ephemera of everyday life have been found there. Until recently, however, there has been comparatively little focus on the Arabic literary manuscripts of the Genizah, particularly its poetry. These fragments of literary history are fascinating insights into the multicultural Cairo cosmopolis, demonstrating a rich cultural exchange through the literature, as well as their Hebrew-Arabic transcriptions. But the study of these texts poses challenges in understanding Jewish life and Jewish-Arabic relations in Islamic lands. On the one hand, it seems self-evident that Arabic poetry had a tremendous influence on the culture of the Jews of the Genizah world, as so many Arabic poems are found in the Genizah. But on the other hand, some manuscripts contain just small excerpts from much larger or epic Arabic poetical works. To what extent can we say this is an instance of artistic exchange? Or perhaps it is the case that such excerpts become adages, common currency of Cairene culture? How do we investigate the nuances of pre-modern manuscripts in such a cosmopolitan atmosphere, whilst maintaining authentic translation and linguistic analysis? How might the study of such texts – their creation, their copying, their circulation, and their reuse – shed light on the Arabic and Jewish communities, their communal interrelations and shared experience of cultural life?

This one-day workshop seeks to bring together scholars of various disciplines, including, but not limited to, manuscript sciences, history, anthropology, literary criticism, philosophy, and sociology for an exciting workshop on emerging approaches and challenges to the investigation of history, sociology, and anthropology though pre-modern literature and its manuscripts.

Agenda

The Cairo Genizah is a treasure trove of medieval and early-modern manuscripts stored away in Egypt’s Ben Ezra Synagogue over nearly a thousand years. All manner of written texts, from lost works of Jewish literary legend to the mundane ephemera of everyday life have been found there. Until recently, however, there has been comparatively little focus on the Arabic literary manuscripts of the Genizah, particularly its poetry. These fragments of literary history are fascinating insights into the multicultural Cairo cosmopolis, demonstrating a rich cultural exchange through the literature, as well as their Hebrew-Arabic transcriptions. But the study of these texts poses challenges in understanding Jewish life and Jewish-Arabic relations in Islamic lands. On the one hand, it seems self-evident that Arabic poetry had a tremendous influence on the culture of the Jews of the Genizah world, as so many Arabic poems are found in the Genizah. But on the other hand, some manuscripts contain just small excerpts from much larger or epic Arabic poetical works. To what extent can we say this is an instance of artistic exchange? Or perhaps it is the case that such excerpts become adages, common currency of Cairene culture? How do we investigate the nuances of pre-modern manuscripts in such a cosmopolitan atmosphere, whilst maintaining authentic translation and linguistic analysis? How might the study of such texts – their creation, their copying, their circulation, and their reuse – shed light on the Arabic and Jewish communities, their communal interrelations and shared experience of cultural life?

This one-day workshop seeks to bring together scholars of various disciplines, including, but not limited to, manuscript sciences, history, anthropology, literary criticism, philosophy, and sociology for an exciting workshop on emerging approaches and challenges to the investigation of history, sociology, and anthropology though pre-modern literature and its manuscripts.

If you would be interested in taking part and giving a paper, then please send us an abstract of 300-800 words, with your approach to the workshop theme. Abstracts related to the following topics are particularly encouraged to apply:

  • How the study of medieval/modern literary manuscripts/texts can reveal social and cultural history, if at all?
  • How does the historical study of literature help us to understand the social dynamics of a certain community or nation?
  • How important is the study of authorship to the study of readers of the past?
  • What gaps can literature fill in our study of historical communities?
  • To what extent do genre, literary form, and language obscure or enhance the historical value of literary texts?
  • Given that Jewish writers are borrowing forms and language from the Arabicised world around them, can we treat them as reliable sources for the contemporary Jewish social and intellectual world? And, moreover, can we use them to gain insight into the wider intellectual milieu of the medieval Mediterranean?
  • As the historian John Tosh suggests, the more successful an author, the more ‘he or she articulates the values and preoccupations of literary contemporaries’. Should we be giving more historical weight to the better-known figures among the fragments, or does value lie also in the more obscure writers too?
  • Given that much of the Genizah material is undated and of potentially wide geographical provenance, what codicological or literary clues might there be that can help locate them in a historical time and place?

Please submit two documents, an Abstract with CV by February 1st 2022 with the subject ‘APCG Abstract Submission’ to:
Ben Outhwaite: [email protected] and Mohamed Ahmed: [email protected]

Authors will be notified by March 1st 2022. Successful candidates will receive a bursary toward their travel costs and accommodation for two nights. Should you wish to participate online, please let us know in your submission email.

For more information, please contact Raymond Davidson: [email protected]

Details

  • July 15, 2022
Register now