81963 - NARRATIVES ON OTHERS AND SELF IN ARAB CULTURE (1) (LM)

Scheda insegnamento

SDGs

L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.

Istruzione di qualità Parità di genere Ridurre le disuguaglianze

Anno Accademico 2020/2021

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course students will have acquired a varied set of tools for proper linguistic analysis, historical contextualisation and critical deconstruction of narratives and representations connected to the issues of « identity » and « otherness » produced within the Arab World. Students will be able do demonstrate awareness of inner diversity and multiplicity of the complex cultural construction usually referred to as « the Arab World », thus fighting stereotyped and oversimplified representations from both « outside » and « inside » that world ; moreover they will acquire awareness of the ideological implications of notions of « other » and « self » and of the rhetorical strategies put in motion in order to affirm a certain « version » of such notions in a certain social and cultural context.

Contenuti

The Shaykh and the Others: Medieval Sufi Attitudes Towards Jews and Christians

This course will focus on Muslim representations of Jews and Christians in Medieval (Ayyubid and Mamluk) Egypt (12th to 16th century) as reflected in Muslim mystical and hagiographic literature of the time. This will provide students with fresh insights into interfaith relations in a society where Jews and Christians lived under Islamic rule in the condition of ahl al-dhimma (lit. “protected people”), implying an overall condition of social and juridical inferiority. With this in mind, works by four prominent Sufi authors will be used as main sources:

1) al-Risāla by Shaykh Ṣafī l-Dīn ibn Abī l-Manṣūr (d. 1283);

2) alKitāb al-waḥīd by Shaykh Ibn Nūḥ al-Qūṣī (d. 1308);

3) Laṭāʾif al-minan by Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh alIskandarī (d. 1309);

4) Durrat al-asrār by Ibn al-Ṣabbāgh (fl. 1320s).

The teacher will provide students with (mostly first-hand) English translations of the above mentioned source material. A wide variety of attitudes towards Jews and Christians will be detected and analyzed in these sources, ranging from interreligious violence to dialogue for converting and also to mutual respect, while adhering to the principles of dhimma and maintaining hierarchical relationships between Islam and other religions. 

Students will be provided with elements for proper historical contextualisation of the source material, and will be introduced to different analytical perspectives that are confronting in the current scientific debates on such issues.

An historical outline of the development of "Sufi studies", especially in Western and Eastern Europe, will also be provided. 

In addition to this, Students may agree with the teacher on a personalized program, provided that it is compatible with the geo-historical and methodological framework of the course. 

PROVISIONAL WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Week 1:

a) General Presentation of the Course

b) Context Analysis (Survey of the Students' preliminary knowledge concerning the main topics of the course, in order to assess specific individual educational needs as weel as to discuss each student's potential contribution in shared activities)

c) Theoretical introduction 1 : "Representing Others, Defining Self and Making History" (Suggested Preliminary Readings: SAID 1975, NORA 1989, BURUMA & MARGALIT 2005).

Week 2

a) Theoretical introduction 2: "Others and Self in Medieval Arab Culture" . Some general Remarks. (Suggested Preliminary Readings: FARIAS 1985, ABKAR 1985)

b) Theoretical Introduction 3: "The notion of Dhimma" (Suggested Preliminary Readings : ASHTOR 1949; FiERRO & TOLAN 2013).

c) Theoretical Introduction 4: "The notion of Moral Regulation" (Suggested Preliminary Reading : EL-LEITHY 2006)

Week 3:

Sufism : definitions and historiographical problems

(Suggested Preliminary Readings : KNYSH 2006, SVIRI 2012, HOFER 2015)

Medieval Sufi Attitudes Towards Jews and Christians: an Introduction (Suggested Preliminary Reading: HERRERA 2015) 

 

Week 4:

Case Studies: 

1) al-Risāla by Shaykh Ṣafī l-Dīn ibn Abī l-Manṣūr (d. 1283);

2) alKitāb al-waḥīd by Shaykh Ibn Nūḥ al-Qūṣī (d. 1308);

(Suggested preliminary reading: CECERE 2018)

Week 5:

Case Studies:

3) Laṭāʾif al-minan by Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh alIskandarī (d. 1309);

4) Durrat al-asrār by Ibn al-Ṣabbāgh (fl. 1320s).

(Suggested preliminary readings: CECERE 2013, CECERE 2018)

b) Some Final Remarks

 

Testi/Bibliografia

1) Compulsory Readings for both Attending and Non-Attending Students:

Section A (both readings are mandatory):

CECERE, Giuseppe, 2018. The Shaykh and the Others - Sufi Perspectives on Jews and Christians in Late Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Egypt, «ENTANGLED RELIGIONS», 2018, 6, pp. 34 - 94

FARIAS, Paulo Fernando de Moraes,1985. "Models of the World and Categorial Models: The 'Enslavable Barbarian' as a Mobile Classificatory Label". In Slaves and Slavery in Muslim Africa.Volume I. Islam and the Ideology of Enslavement, Edited with an Introduction by John Ralph Willis, Princenton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985, p. 27-46.

Section B. One of the following texts: 

FENTON, Paul B., 2003. “Judaism and Sufism.” In The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy, edited by Daniel H. Frank, and Oliver Leaman, 201–217. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

EL-LEITHY, Tamer. 2006. “Sufis, Copts and the Politics of Piety: Moral regulation in Fourteenth-Century Upper Egypt.” In Le développement du soufisme en Égypte à l’époque mamelouke, edited by Richard McGregor, and Adam Sabra, 75–119. Cairo: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.

Section C. One of the following texts: 

KNYSH, Alexander. 2006. “Historiography of Sufi Studies in the West and Russia.” Written Monuments of the Orient 1/4 : 206–208.

NORA, Pierre, 1989. "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire". Representations 26 (Spring, 1989), Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, p. 7-24. 

2) Compulsory Additional Biblography for Non-Attending Students: 

SVIRI, Sara. 2012. “Sufism: Reconsidering Terms, Definitions and Processes in the Formative Period of Islamic Mysticism.” In Les maîtres soufis et leur disciples: iii-v siècle de l’hégire (ix–xi s.). Enseignement, formation et transmission, edited by Geneviève Gobillot, and Jean-Jacques Thibon, 17–34. Beirut: Institut Français du Proche-Orient.

 

3) Suggested Preliminary Readings for Students Intending to Attend the Course: 

CECERE, Giuseppe, 2018. The Shaykh and the Others - Sufi Perspectives on Jews and Christians in Late Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Egypt, «ENTANGLED RELIGIONS», 2018, 6, pp. 34 - 94.

FiERRO Maribel, and John TOLAN, eds. 2013. The Legal Status of ḏimmī-s in the Islamic West (Second/Eighth-Ninth/Fifteenth centuries). Turnhout: Brepols

SVIRI, Sara. 2012. “Sufism: Reconsidering Terms, Definitions and Processes in the Formative Period of Islamic Mysticism.” In Les maîtres soufis et leur disciples: iii-v siècle de l’hégire (ix–xi s.). Enseignement, formation et transmission, edited by Geneviève Gobillot, and Jean-Jacques Thibon, 17–34. Beirut: Institut Français du Proche-Orient.


 


Metodi didattici

The course consists mainly of lectures. However, part of the classwork will be specially devoted to foster the students' direct involvement. In particular, individual or groups of students will be encouraged to organize oral presentations in classroom, concerning specific historical and ideological issues and / or translation of texts previously agreed upon with the teacher.

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

 

The final exam consists of an oral test. The activities that students will carry out during the course (either in class or individually) will also be evaluated and they will matter for the formation of the final judgment.

Also, those students who agree with the teacher on a personalized program, can submit, within two weeks before the exam, a paper  on the topic of their research (between 12,000 and 20,000 characters in length). In this case, the interview will mainly focus on the topic of the paper.

In both cases (general course program or personalized program), the oral exam will assess the student's command of the material studied. The student will be judged on his/her ability to summarise and critically discuss the main topics raised in the general course or in their personalized research program, making use of the bibliography agreed upon and of the other tools provided.

 

The assessment will thus consider the student's:
- competence in commenting on sources and contextualizing them;
- knowledge and understanding of the topics covered;
- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;
- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he/she displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.


Strumenti a supporto della didattica

References provided in the Course Bibliography will be integrated with a wide range of other tools, mostly relying on Arabic sources (audiovisual, press, literary texts, as well as religious, legal, economic and political texts).

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Giuseppe Cecere