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Folk Knowledge: Institute of Ethnology Slovak Academy of Sciences: Call for Papers

AAA bratislava

Folk Knowledge:  Models and Concepts

Institute of Ethnology Slovak Academy of Sciences

March 26th to 28th 2013 

The problem of human knowledge – what a person employs to interpret and act on the world – has been in the centre of scholarly attention for a long time. Knowledge is shaped by culture and distributed in population in certain ways; anthropological research has been directed to the distribution of knowledge – its presence or absence in particular persons – and the social processes influencing these distributions.

Attention has been paid in particular to so-called folk knowledge consisting of beliefs and socially accepted rules corresponding to various spheres of life: social relations, natural environment, reasoning and emotions, economic relations, oral tradition, etc. These beliefs and rules are shared and adapted to the particular local settings. Theoretical debates focused on the models of natural and cultural environment in particular social and cultural conditions, and the impact that those models have on human behaviour. The aim of this conference is to contribute to this focus by bringing together scholars doing research in different cultural settings.

A comparative perspective on human knowledge allows us to unravel a number of aspects of the cultural worlds which people construct. Empirical research can demonstrate how established thoughts, representations, and social relations to a considerable extent configure and filter individual human experience of the world around us and thereby generate culturally diverse worldviews which might include feelings and attitudes as well as information, embodied skills, verbal taxonomies and concepts: all the ways of understanding that humans use to make up a reality.

We invite interested scholars and students to submit proposals for papers which will explore:

• Folk knowledge and expert knowledge

• Material culture: material objects and their cultural meanings

• Religious beliefs and rituals

• Concepts of ethnicity and race

• Social learning: acquisition of knowledge by children and adults

• Children and their concepts

• Verbal concepts and models

• Taxonomy of concepts

• Representations of morality

• Gender relationships and representations

• Representations of economic relations and processes

• Visual representations: construction of meanings

Key lectures:

Prof. Anthony Good

Anthony Good is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Great Britain. The lecture: Folk Knowledge and the Law

Prof. John Eade

John Eade is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Roehampton and former Executive Director of CRONEM (Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism) which links Roehampton and the University of Surrey. He is also Visiting Professor at the Migration Research Unit, the University College London, Great Britain.

The lecture: Contested Knowledges: The Politics of Pilgrimage in a Changing Europe

Dr. William (Lee) W. McCorkle

William McCorkle is

Director of Experimental Research at the LEVYNA (Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion and Ritual). He is Associate Professor and Research Specialist at the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Czech Republic.

The lecture: From Compulsion to Script: The Evolution of Ritual and the Rise of Religions

Submission details:

The language of the conference will be English only. The papers should last no more than 20 minutes.

Abstracts (up to 350-words in Word doc.), with contact details and affiliation, should be sent to:

the conference e-mail address: by 31st January 2013.

You will be informed about acceptance or non-acceptance of your proposal by 15th February 2013.

Conference participation fee:

• scholars who will present their papers: € 50;

• PhD students who will present their papers: € 25;

• participants who will not present papers: free. The participation fee includes all conference proceedings and daytime refreshments. Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.

Organizational team: Tatiana Bužeková, Institute of Ethnology SAS, email: Miroslava Hlinčíková, Institute of Ethnology SAS, email: Danijela Jerotijević, Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, Comenius University, email: Soňa G. Lutherová, Institute of Ethnology SAS, email:

They look forward to seeing you in Bratislava in March 2013!

Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

Looking for Mary Magdalene.

Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

Oxford Ritual Studies Series,

Oxford and New York:   Oxford University Press

Anna Fedele offers a sensitive ethnography of alternative pilgrimages to French Catholic shrines dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing on more than three years of fieldwork, she describes how pilgrims from Italy, Spain, Britain, and the United States interpret Catholic figures, symbols, and sites according to theories derived from the international Neopagan movement.


Fedele pays particular attention to the pilgrims’ life stories, rituals and reading. She examines how they devise their rituals, how anthropological literature has influenced them, and why this kind of spirituality is increasingly prevalent in the West. These pilgrims cultivate spirituality in interaction with each other and with textual sources: Jungian psychology, Goddess mythology, and “indigenous” traditions merge into a corpus of practices centered upon the worship of the Goddess and Mother Earth, and the sacralization of the reproductive cycle. Their rituals present a critique of Roman Catholicism and the medical establishment, and question contemporary discourse on gender.


In this theoretically nuanced and ethnographically rich study, Anna Fedele carefully lays out the complex and imaginative worlds of Mary Magdalene’s contemporary spiritual pilgrims and their sacred landscapes of European forests, waters, caves, and rocks imbued with symbol and meaning. Immersing herself in their created ceremonies, she reports back to us with sensitivity and insight about their reinterpretations of gender, sexuality, community, and religion.”

Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community


This is a rich, thoughtful, and quite startling account of the new spirituality around Mary Magdalene, and around menstruation, darkness and the creativity of loss.

Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University


Oxford Ritual Studies Series, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

336 pages

SBN13: 978-0-19-989842-8: 

I SBN10: 0-19-989842-


Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Belgium: call for papers

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Deadline: 1 December 2012


Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

16 – 17 – 18 May 2013

In the contemporary Western European world traditional, institutionalized religions are losing ground, while alternative religions, literature and the arts, film and media, as well as commercial enterprises are offering alternatives. Old concepts, symbols and rituals are translated into new forms. This is a recurrent phenomenon: as sensitivities change throughout the ages, the ways to express this changed “interiority” change and result in new manifestations of spirituality.

This multi- and interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics and Spirituality looks at how, both in the past and the present, people devise(d) new ways of conceiving and manifesting interiority. In order to look at the forms “interiority” has received throughout the ages we use different approaches: literature, cultural studies, theology, art (iconography/iconology), history (of ideas) and architecture, anthropology, political sciences/sociology, psychology, philosophy…

How do exteriority and interiority relate? What does it mean to be in a place, to be at home in the world or with oneself (cf Pierre Nora,Les lieux de mémoire)? How can urban planning, public and private buildings, furniture and other material things, clothes, prescribed attitudes, etc. be conducive to interiorization (conscious or unconscious reflections, contemplation)? Or, conversely, how can material factors repress interiority (cf repressive political systems)? In order to imagine a topology of interiority that would draw on an inter-disciplinary field of studies and research we invite papers on the different kinds of language which translate outside to inside and vice versa.

If interiority is a question of presence and orientation we need to look at

(a) Bodily expressions: a religious community prescribed a certain body language which could bring about a spirituality (cf. nineteenth-century feminine congregations focusing on nursing, weaving and embroidering); manifold forms of biblical spirituality (Schneider et al) inspire the body, while psychology of religion and psychoanalysis develop ways of reading religious bodies (Vergote, Lacan, Vasse, Moyaert et al).

(b) Expressions through things, images (iconology), words:

-changes in the attitude to relics, books, icons, devotional cards, rosaries, …

-different links between theology, art and literature produce different forms: the “bondieuserie” in France (1850s) differed from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the divine (criticized by Dickens), or from the Pilgrim’s Movement in Flanders; after the Great War Benedictine spirituality was revived, while Franciscan spirituality brought a new attention for nature and animals in literature; 21st-century ecocriticism brings a new attitude to representations of nature, as do gender studies to aspects of spirituality …

(c) Changes in Ritual, as a means to link physical and metaphysical aspects of experience: which forms of ritual are depicted, developed, in contemporaryl iterature, to mark forgiveness, reconciliation, or other transitions (to adulthood, married life, divorce, healing from sickness, death,…) Which theories of performativity are used in liturgy these days? Which kind of poetics are used in contemporary prayer? How do contemporary political symbols (fail to) develop? (Cf. prevalence of Christian symbols in commemorations of British army casualties et al). Can ritual help in conflict situations, and how are new rituals validated? How do religious institutions relate to the secularization?

(d) Contributions relating to or focusing on Irish topics will be especially welcomed.

Are Celtic symbols still known, used, adapted? How does Irish urbanization, architecture, make space for interiority? How is “interiority” conceived at all in contemporary art and philosophy? Which places, moments, figures, phenomena, concepts, does contemporary film, drama, poetry, fiction, art, hold in special reverence? Does nature (stone, plant, animal) still harbour something sacred, and if so, how? Do angels still figure?

Are there still references to the Jewish, Greek, Christian stories? Is twentiethcentury and contemporary art, literature and film reacting or indifferent to this tradition, does it translate archaic symbols (animals and trees, food and drink, textile and books, home and travel, …) into new forms, or does it divest these old icons of their symbolism?

The conference is hosted by the KU Leuven, the Faculties of the Arts, Theology and KADOC (Interfaculty Institute of the KU Leuven for Documentation and Research for Religion, Culture and Society) in cooperation with the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS).

It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe). The Scientific Committee consists of Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Arts), Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven, Theology), Ralph De Koninck (Université Catholique de Louvain, Arts), Jan De Maeyer (KADOC, KU Leuven, History/Heritage), Borbala Farago (Central European University Budapest, Gender Studies), Veerle Fraeters (U Antwerpen, Literature), Christine Göttler (Universität Bern, Arts), Hedwig Schwall (KU Leuven/Kortrijk, Literature), Paul Vandenbroeck (KU Leuven/ Anthropology/Social sciences), Henrik von Aachen (University of Bergen, Norway, Arts)

Papers should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes’ delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) and a short biography should be sent by e-mail to

Hedwig Schwall ,

You will be notified by 20 December.

More information about the conference will be posted on


Call For Papers, Presentations, Workshops, Rituals and Performances

Mapping the Occult City: Exploring Magick and Esotericism in the Urban Utopia

A pre-conference for the Annual Meeting of the

American Academy of Religions in Chicago, 

Friday November 16, 2012,

presented by Phoenix Rising Academy and DePaul University.



In his classic essay, “Walking in the City,” ethnologist and historian Michel de Certeau distinguished between the “exaltation of a scopic and gnostic drive” that comes from viewing the city from a high vantage point and the quotidian negotiations of the walker at street level, who creates his or her own map, takes shortcuts and resists the strategies of typical urban planning. One perspective is totalizing and distancing, constructing an illusory, unified view of the metropolis, while the other seeks out hidden avenues of knowledge and intersections of stories, myths, and happenings. The occultist tends to shift between both views, sometimes spinning grand narratives of the city as a New Atlantis, a utopian civilization of knowledge and wonder, other times imagining a secret world of dark mysteries, unknown to most passersby, that lay just beyond the twilight of the streetlamps. Many esotericists, conspiracy theorists, and urban fantasy authors have speculated on the occult meaning of symbols, monuments, and architecture in major cities, from Cleopatra’s Needle in London to the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. Or they see powerful sigils in the neon signs, building facades and billboards. Some speak of urban ley lines and “energy centers” that bubble with occult power ready to be tapped into by those with the right sense and ability. These energy centers are focused on geometric street patterns or the lines created by the placement of sacred sites in the city, such as churches, temples, and cemeteries. Others speak of haunted places, charged with story and legend, often full of the sense of violence, trauma and the urgency of events that occurred there.

Historically, cities have been home to countless esoteric groups who have met, planned, and conducted ritual within the towering buildings that glitter the metropolitan skyline. For instance,  Chicago, the location of this year’s AAR conference, was once the home of the 32 floor Masonic Building, owned by the Illinois Freemasons, and the tallest building in the world in 1892. Prominent figures in the esoteric world have spoken, performed and offered their wisdom to the masses through the many salons, lectures, performances, congregations, conferences, and world’s fairs that have been either publicly advertised or available only to those with the right password and invitation.

Cities are where the ideas of Western esotericism spread to the masses through these public events and the many urban publishing houses. Cities are also home to public events and happenings that connect the esoteric, the theatrical and the political world through protest and public actions and happenings, such as the W.I.T.C.H. protests at Chicago’s Federal Building on Halloween 1969. Finally, cities are centers of diversity and diaspora and often become hothouses for the development of hybrid traditions based on immigrant cultures, such as Santeria and Vodun.

For scholars of magick and esotericism, cities like Chicago can offer up rich resources for tracking group activities and events through library archives and public records. Understanding occult life in the city, in both its historical and contemporary contexts, is crucial in mapping the proliferation of ideas and connections between practitioners and traditions. Popular practical texts have addressed how the practice of magick changes in an urban setting, especially when the magician or witch must adapt a nature-centered practice to a city-based practice. Investigating esoteric actions in the city can reveal the ways in which the practitioner is caught up and complicit with strategic structures of power while also offering possibilities for the occultist to resist those structures through the kind of tactical, magical  moves described by de Certeau. As the Occupy movement and other political protests proliferate, especially in America’s election year, what are the possibilities for harnessing and directing the energy of the occult city?

Phoenix Rising Academy would like to explore these intersections of the esoteric and the urban, focusing on the city as a locus for power and knowledge, both hidden and revealed. Are cities oppressive entities that stifle creative and esoteric drives or do they hold in their structures the  otential for powerful action? To this end, we invite scholars and practitioners to submit proposals for papers, presentations, rituals and performances that address these questions pertaining to the occult city. Though our focus is primarily on American cities, particularly Chicago, we welcome explorations in other prominent global metropolitan centers.



For this pre-conference, we plan on creating 2-3 panels of papers,

presentations, performances, rituals, workshops, roundtables, or

discussion groups. Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

· The activities of certain groups, traditions, and communities, both historical and contemporary, in particular cities.

· The city life of prominent esoteric figures and how that city life shaped their ideas and practices.

· Particular events, meetings, lectures,  performances, happenings, protests whose urban setting featured prominently in their execution and influence.

· The mythology of the occult city, based on legend, occult symbolism, and esoteric symbolism of architecture and urban planning.

· A practical approach to working magick and ritual in the city, perhaps based on Urban Shamanism or Chaos Magick.

· Interpretations of the city and its occult power by urban fantasy authors.

· The intersections of the occult and the political through the use of ritualized protest actions, focusing on setting and urban scene.

· Though not focusing on hauntings per se, an investigation of spiritualism, mysticism and psychic practices prominent in urban settings.

· A study of how hereditary or hybridized indigenous practices survive, evolve and adapt in an urban setting.

With your submission, please include the following:

Presenter information (name, mailing and email addresses, phone number)

Type of presentation (paper, non-paper presentation, workshop,

performance, roundtable).

Note: if you are proposing a roundtable discussion, please submit info for all participants.

Title and affiliation (institution, organization, independent scholar,

or practitioner).

Proposal or abstract (not to exceed 250 words). Should include title of presentation and a clear description of the presentation’s intent, plus

any audio/visual needs. Biographical data (not to exceed 200 words).

Contact and submissions:

Please email all submissions by August 20th to:

Dr. Jason L. Winslade

DePaul University

Conference website:

Please include “PRA Pre-Conference” in the subject line. All submissions

will be reviewed and you will be notified of a decision one week after

the deadline.

Conference University of Aberdeen: SECOND SIGHT AND PROPHECY

Conference University of Aberdeen

14-16 June 2013


Conference organised by the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, and the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen; sponsored by the Folklore Society

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes participants from a range of academic disciplines including History, Folklore, Anthropology, Divinity and Sociology whose research interests cover a wide range of topics exploring varying methods used by different cultures (both now and in the past) to look into the future and the rationale for so doing. The future has always held a fascination for humankind especially in times of tribulation and this is worthy of academic discussion in light of the changes affecting so many of us in our current global context. The role in culture of seers and prophets, by whatever name they are known, and the use of rituals, drugs and sacred sites, etc. will be examined.

Abstracts of 300 words are invited on any of the following or related topics.

These should be submitted by 15 November 2012 to the conference convenor, Dr Alex Sutherland, History Department, University of Aberdeen;

Papers might address:

Astrology and its rationale(s) for predicting the future.

Biblical prophecy as depicted in the arts.

Divination in any form.

English attitudes to second sight.

Healing wells.

How modern scientists have appropriated the persona of the prophet or visionary seer.

Landscape and prophecy in art.

Old Norse and later Scandinavian sources on prophecy.

Popular Catholic belief in prophecy before and after the Reformation.

Prophecy in Native American tribes.

Prophetic utterances by the courts, commoners, and the church.

Reading the future in the landscape of settlements.

Renaissance science and astrology.

Sami shamanism.

Second sight and prophecy in Scottish Gaeldom.

Second sight and prophecy in the Viking world.

Second sight in Gaelic traditions as they survived and evolved in Nova Scotian communities.

Seers and seeresses in medieval Icelandic saga literature.

The early Islamic world & its connections with astrology.

The role of prophecies, visions and dreams in poetry and allegorical tales.

The role of prophecy in the origins of Islam, in the pre-Islamic Arabian environment

The use of sites, dreams and ancestors for prophecies by indigenous peoples.

Visual and verbal imagery of natural objects as coded language for the use of entheogens to attain divine / prophetic knowledge.

Welsh prophetic poetry.

When prophecy fails.


11-12 November 2011

Organized by

The Centro Incontri Umani

Ascona, Swizterland



T. Zarcone, CNRS – GSRL / EPHE, Paris

P. Khosronejad, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, Scotland

A. Hobart, University College, London

With the participation of

The “Groupe Sociétés Religions Laïcité”

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Ecole Pratique des hautes Etudes – Université de la Sorbonne

and of The Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews     




19:00 Registration

19:30 Dinner


9:30 Opening: Angela HOBART (London University College / director of the Centro Incontri Umani)

9:45 Introducing the topic of the conference: Pedram KHOSRONEJAD (St Andrews University) and Thierry ZARCONE (CNRS – GSRL / EPHE, Paris)

Session 1: Musique, Songs and Nature

Chair: Angela Hobart

10:00 Razia SULTANOVA (Central Asian Forum, University of Cambridge, UK)

Devotional chanting in Uzbek and Kazakh Pilgrimages: (Shahimardan, Bukhara, Turkestan)

Pilgrimages in Central Asia accompanied by devotional chanting have not yet been the subject of sustained scholarly attention, but they occur on a regular basis and are significant

for the study of religions. Pilgrimage destinations in Central Asia are distinguished by various forms of performance, and the choice of chanting and narration relates to the different Sufi orders: Qadiriya in Shahimardan in Ferghana Valley, Naqshbandiya in Bukhara and Yasaviya in Turkestan. When, for example, you arrive in the mountainous region of Shahimardan in Ferghana Valley, you are surrounded by people singing and praying, performing suras from the Holy Quran as well as blessings and various Sufi ghazals. In Bukhara around the tomb of Naqshbandi, and in Turkestan in the region of the Khanaqa of Ahmad Yasavi, these chants build an essential part of devotional rituals. How are they performed? What is their origin? Who are their performers? These and other similar questions are examined in my paper.

10:35 Saskia KERSENBOOM (Amsterdam University, The Netherlands)

Lady of Great Bliss

In the hills of Northern Hungary pilgrims have for centuries travelled to sacred places where mother earth opens up miraculous stones, hills, rock-caves and, especially, healing water from divine wells. The focal point of their devotion are the female representations, whether they be in the ancient Maria, the newly founded temple for Buddhist Tara, or the nubile girls in UNESCO World Heritage Holloko village. All are to be found within the range of 20 km around the pilgrim site of Szentkut and its Holy Well. This presentation compares and analyses the performative strategies in the arts of storytelling, song and mimetic action that enable believers to turn their devotion into a sensuous, invigorating experience of the divine.

11:10 Morning Coffee

11:40 Richard BLURTON (Dept of Asia, British Museum, London)

Pilgrimage to Banggajang: lake-dwelling goddesses and their devotees in the eastern Himalayas

This paper discusses the previously unrecorded pilgrimage to a group of high altitude lakes located in the hills above the Se-La. This pass at 13,000 feet separates western Arunachal Pradesh from Tawang District and the onward route to Tsona in south-eastern Tibet. The lakes are imagined as the residences of the goddesses Dorje Phagmo and Palden Lhamo, while the surrounding landscape is impregnated with divine and cosmic presence – all of which is pointed out to pilgrims as they make the pilgrimage circuit. In this, the Banggajang pilgrimage fits into the same type as the much more substantial landscape pilgrimage that has been recorded to the east, at Tsa-ri, by Toni Huber.

The pilgrimage to Banggajang has both a historic and a present manifestation, and both elements will for the first time – and with some trepidation – be placed in an overview of the well-known Tibetan notion of mountain and lake veneration and the accommodation of this activity within a Buddhist world-view. There is some evidence that the pilgrimage acted not only as a spiritual activity but also as an economic and indeed a cultural activity, and this will be presented.

12:15 Charles RAMBLE (Oriental Institute, University of Oxford)

Objets trouvés’: The transformation of nature into art in Tibetan pilgrimages

Pilgrimage is one of the most widespread and popular activities among Tibetan Buddhists and followers of the Bön religion. Although a few pilgrimages are centred on man-made shrines such as the „cathedral‟ (Jokhang) of Lhasa, the majority entail arduous journeys to uninhabited mountain wildernesses. The trails and sacred sites at these locations are festooned with coloured flags printed with prayers, as well as white ceremonial scarves and sacred formulae sometimes carved into rocks, but the natural environment is otherwise hardly transformed; except, that is, in the imagination of the pilgrims. In the abundant „guidebook‟ literature associated with each pilgrimage route, topographic features are sacralized by being re-envisioned as a wide range of ritual items, animals, divinities and even social interactions. While this „denaturalised‟ landscape is sometimes transferred to painted scrolls, the true richness of the imagery is reserved for pilgrims who see these objects in situ, through the prism of prescribed religious vision.

12:40- 1:15 Questions and discussion

13:30 Lunch Break

Session 2: Sacred Artefacts

Chair: Pedram Khosronejad

15:00 Michel BOIVIN (CNRS – CEIAS / EHESS, Paris)

Building a local culture in a Sufi centre: the kishti and other artefacts in Sehwan Sharif (Pakistan)

Sufism in the Indian Subcontinent is usually introduced through Imperial centres like Nizamuddin in Delhi or Muinuddin Chishti in Ajmer. The art and culture thus produced are therefore closely attached to imperial power, be it the Delhi Sultanate or the Moghul Empire. My contention, however, is that innovative clues can be adduced as evidence of regional and local approaches. My lecture focuses on the Sufi centre of Sehwan Sharif (Pakistan) where the Sufi Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (d. 1274) is buried. It will study a number of artefacts, usually represented as the Sufi‟s relics, as material goods embodied in a number of narratives. The artefacts are also ritual tools which reflect negotiations between different categories of local people such as sayyids and non-sayyids, Sunnis and Shias, Muslims and Hindus, men, women, khadras etc. Briefly, the study of the artefacts informs us on how a local ‟system‟ is working.

15:35 Alexandre PAPAS (CNRS – CETOBAC / EHESS, Paris)

Steles, relics and photographs in the Muslim shrines of Northwest China (Qinghai, Gansu)

In the provinces of Qinghai and Gansu (more precisely: Xunhua Salar Autonomous County and Jishishan Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous County) live several Muslim minorities, namely Hui, Salar, Dongxiang, Bonan and Kargan Tibetan. Whether Chinese, Turkic, Mongolian or Tibetan speakers, they all venerate saints and perform pilgrimage on their shrines. Based on fieldwork conducted in 2010, this presentation introduces the main features of Islam and Sufism in the area. In a second step, I will focus on the specific shrines in which Qâdirî and Naqshbandî saints are buried, and where several material features appear repeatedly: 1) the granite steles composed in Chinese, which provide basic information to visitors; 2) the relics jealously preserved by the shrine custodians and shown at exceptional occasions; 3) the photographs taken by pilgrims and used as souvenirs of pious visits and mystical rituals. These three material aspects of Sufi holy places tend to multiply the narratives associated with pilgrimage, reconstructing the religious memory of Muslim minorities in north-west China.

16:10 Afternoon Tea

16:40 Sanjay GARG (SAARC Cultural Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka)

Pilgrims’ memorabilia in the social landscape of India

India is a land of diverse religious faiths and practices. It is the place of origin of four religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – and a congenial abode for almost all the religions of the world, be it the oldest, such as Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam, or one of the newest, like Baha‟ism. The shrines of these religions dot the cultural landscape of the country, and from antiquity these have served as pilgrimage centres for devotees. One of the traditions associated with pilgrimage in India is the carrying back of blessings of the sacred site in some tangible form. These range from holy prasād (eatables offered by a devotee at a shrine and generally returned after being blessed), sacred water and holy ash from incense, to charms, amulets, statuettes and jewellery. This tradition could be studied from a functionalist point of view, in which the memorializing of the pilgrimage and sharing of the divine blessings with one‟s kith and kin appear to be the prime objects of the pilgrim; or from a philosophical standpoint, in which the pilgrim seeks to associate himself permanently with the sacred site.

This paper will explore this tradition of „pilgrims‟ memorabilia‟ in the cross-cultural and inter-religious settings of India by focusing on the religious tokens commonly known as Rāmtankās (lit. „Money of Lord Rama‟). Previously confined to Hinduism, the prevalence of these religious tokens amongst the Hindu pilgrims has prompted Islamic, Sikh and other religious communities to devise their own. These tokens have provided not only a convenient and affordable medium of expression for the popular art and religious beliefs of the masses of India, but they have also served variously as objects of worship, talismans and mementoes, or indeed as a combination of all three. Finally, the paper will also attempt to address issues such as the motivations and expectations of the practitioners of this tradition, as well as the influence of their social background in their choice of memorabilia.

17:15 Thierry ZARCONE (CNRS – GSRL / EPHE, Paris)

Flags and ritual banners at shrines in Asian Islam (Central Asia, Xinjiang, India)

This presentation will examine the role played by banners or flags (tugh/tughaläm), major sacred artefacts in saint veneration and tomb cults in Turkic Islam. In particular it will consider the offering of banners, a notable ritual executed at the saints‟ tombs in Eastern Turkestan/Xinjiang (China) and, in a different manner, in India. My approach is both historical and anthropological. I will first show that the use of banners during pilgrimages at saint tombs in Central Asia has shamanic, Buddhist and Islamic origins. These three traditions have mingled over time and gave birth to a very syncretic practice. Also worthy of mention is the frequent identification, as shown in the written sources in Persian and Oriental Turkish, of the word „mazar‟, for the tombs of saints, with the word „tughaläm‟, a banner – a sign that the banner is a central element in the saint cult and gives him its legitimacy. One of the most compelling proofs of this, is that the Chinese administration of Xinjiang, when aiming to eradicate saint‟s cults and pilgrimage before and after 1049, forbade the banners at these places – a proscription that remains to this day. After this historical introduction, I will report on the rituals of the offering of banners that are performed nowadays at shrines in Xinjiang, along with the aesthetic and artistic dimensions of these artefacts..

17:50 -18:30 Speakers’s panel – Questions and discussion

19:30 Dinner


Session 3: Images and Representation

Chair: Thierry Zarcone

9:30 Hümeyra ULUDAG (Istanbul University, Turkey)

Shrines and the culture of pilgrimages in the Ottoman visual material

Shrines, which are the centres of popular pietism in Ottoman society, comprise one of the most significant dynamics of social life. These sacred locations, which substantially guide religious, social and psychological lives of people, are observed in Ottoman miniatures. This paper will concentrate on certain dimensions of the shrines that are reflected in the Ottoman visual materials, such as their architecture and setting, and the culture of pilgrimage and rituals. The way this topic is studied in visual terms and the modes of representation and the motifs in the miniatures will be also discussed.

10:05 Pedram KHOSRONEJAD (University of St Andrews)

Curtains of heaven: celestial and devotional mural paintings of Iranian pilgrimage

In this talk the author will present and analyze the creation and function of mural paintings of saint shrines in Iran since the Safavide period (1501–1736). The main emphasis will be on the relationship between such devotional depictions and the veneration of saints in Shiite Iran. This talk will be completed by a case study of mural paintings of shrines of saints which are located in and around Lahijan in the north of Iran.

10:40 Morning Coffee

11:00 Isabelle CHARLEUX (CNRS – GSRL / EPHE, Paris)

Sacred souvenirs of 19th-20th century Mongol pilgrimages to Wutaishan (China)

Mount Wutaishan was an important centre of religious shopping for Mongol pilgrims, who purchased there various kinds of objects, from rosaries, statuettes, good-luck tokens and mass-produced prints and maps up to expensive icons. Back home, these „relics‟ of the holy shrine served to maintain a physical connection with the charisma of the site. This presentation will examine three kinds of sacred souvenirs – maps, prints of Shakyamuni‟s footprints and thangkas – to question their different functions and uses, and the lasting influence they had on Mongol Buddhist art.

11:35 Speakers’s panel – Questions and discussion

12:10 Conclusion: Pierre-Jean LUIZARD (CNRS – GSRL / EPHE, Paris)

12:30 Closing: Angela HOBART; Pedram KHOSRONEJAD; Thierry ZARCONE

13:00 Lunch Break

All are welcome

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