Following a recent shift of focus from “ritual thinking” to “ritual action“ in contemporary studies of religion, the Orient-Institut Beirut plans a conference which focuses on the relationship between textual traditions and ritual practice in Islam. One of the main questions concerns how theological concepts are transformed into religious practice – and vice versa. The conference aims at bridging disciplinary barriers between philologically grounded and fieldwork-based studies on Islam.
Religion is not only constituted by texts but by experiences which involve multi-layered perceptions: visual, acoustic, kinaesthetic, olfactory, and others. Nevertheless, texts play an important role in religion, especially in Islam which has a long and highly esteemed textual tradition: a revealed script, commentaries, theological treatises, handbooks for law and ritual, texts in praise for God and the prophet, elegies, and prayers, to name a few. What is the relationship between texts and their believers? How are they delivered, performed, staged? Who takes part in this process? How do texts shape daily religious life? How are borders, if any, perceived between piety and entertainment?
Particular topics of interest include:
• The performance of texts (e.g. liturgy, sermons, popular preaching, mada’ih)
Questions may include the musical sound, formal characteristics, the relationship between reciters and listeners, and the function of the performance.
• Changing contexts
Changing contexts may include migration and cultural transformations, but the question of context touches also questions of the public/private, profane/sacred dichotomies.
• Definitions and classifications
Does a stronger focus on ritual action make it necessary to re-evaluate our definitions and categories?
Papers on historical as well as contemporary research are welcome.
Abstracts of about 200-300 words should be sent to Ines Weinrich (firstname.lastname@example.org) before June, 28.
Papers are accepted in English, Arabic, and French.
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