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Author: Ali Altaf Mian

Abstract

This article contributes to scholarship on Muslim humanities, Islam in modern South Asia, and the Urdu literary tradition in colonial India. It does so by contextualizing and closely reading Ashraf ʿAlī Thānavī’s (1863–1943) commentary on the Dīvān of the fourteenth-century Persian poet Ḥāfiz̤. Unlike his modernist contemporaries, Ashraf ʿAlī does not read Ḥāfiz̤ through the prisms of social reform or anti-colonial nationalist struggle. Rather, in his capacity as a Sufi master, he approaches Ḥāfiz̤’s Dīvān as a mystical text in order to generate insights through which he counsels his disciples. He uses the commentary genre to explore Sufi themes such as consolation, contraction, annihilation, subsistence, and the master-disciple relational dynamic. His engagement with Ḥāfiz̤’s ġhazals enables him to elaborate a practical mystical theology and to eroticize normative devotional rituals. Yet the affirmation of an analogical correspondence between sensual and divine love on the part of Ashraf ʿAlī also implies the survival of Ḥāfiz̤’s emphases on the disposability of the world and intoxicated longing for the beloved despite the demands of colonial modernity.

In: Journal of Urdu Studies
Author: Wiebke Denecke

Abstract

This essay proposes to energize the mission of the humanities by radically globalizing their subject matter and methods, taking inspiration from the world’s monumental archive of humanistic creativity over 5000 years of recorded experience. It advocates for Comparative Global Humanities as a crucial complement to the more presentist new humanities fields of medical, environmental, or public humanities. Comparative Global Humanities aims to be inclusively global in terms of subject matter and participants, conceptually comparative, and based on rigorous historical and philological research. A Global Humanities for the 21st century is no antiquarian endeavor, but a head-on response to the greatest challenges of our times: systemic racism, inequality, and fundamentalisms, which are rooted in the unresolved aftermath of wars, colonization, and violence, and use classical heritage for nationalist propaganda. To create more equal societies in the present we need to create more equality for other pasts – and learn from all they offer.

Free access
In: Journal of World Literature
Muqarnas 37 introduces new research on Islamic material culture ranging from Abbasid period mosaics to the early twentieth-century art market. Featured articles include Charles Melville’s introduction of a chronicle that sheds light on the architectural program of Shah ʿAbbas I, in particular his patronage of the dynastic shrine at Ardabil. From the Ottoman period, two essays discuss painted manuscripts: the first traces shifting representations of urban space in late sixteenth-century Istanbul, and the second focuses on sumptuous objects—namely, candy gardens and decorated palms—accompanying the extraordinary 1720 circumcision festival under Sultan Ahmed III. Another article seeks to unravel the mysterious origins of an unusually sophisticated painting of Mecca from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Other topics covered are archaeological finds in Tunisia, and the legacy of Russian modernization efforts in the architecture of East Anatolia, especially the city of Kars. The Notes and Sources section examines the waqfiyya of the earliest surviving Halveti lodge in Amasya, as well as the function of various types of lamps in contemporary Pakistani Sufi shrines.
Identity, Art and Transregional Connections
This interdisciplinary volume addresses the history, literature and material culture of peoples of Turkish origins in India over the eleventh to eighteenth centuries. Although many ruling dynasties and members of the elite in this period claimed Turkish descent, this aspect of their identity has seldom received much scholarly attention. The discussion is enriched by a focus on connections and comparisons with other parts of the broader Turko-Persian world, especially Anatolia. Although discussions of Turkish-Muslim rulers in India take account of their Central Asian origins and connections, links with Anatolia, stretching back to the medieval period, were also important in the formation of Turkish society and culture in India, and have been much less explored in the literature. The volume contains contributions by some of the leading scholars in the field.
In: Turkish History and Culture in India
In: Turkish History and Culture in India