Session Title

Jinn, Dragons, and Divs: Supernatural Beings in Medieval Islamicate Literatures

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Great Lakes Adiban Society

Organizer Name

Cameron Cross

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Presider Name

Franklin Lewis

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago

Paper Title 1

The Monstrous in Medieval Arab versus Medieval Western Writings

Presenter 1 Name

Sally Abed

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Alexandria Univ.

Paper Title 2

Repenting of Poetry: Al-Farazdaq’s Notice to the Devil

Presenter 2 Name

Kevin Blankinship

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Utah

Paper Title 3

Devil the Divine: The Sainthood of Iblis in Persian Mysticism and Its Portrayal in Medieval Perso-Islamic Paintings

Presenter 3 Name

Abolfazl Moshiri

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Toronto

Paper Title 4

Dragon-Spawn, Elephant-Men, and the Quiddity of Evil in Persian Epic

Presenter 4 Name

Cameron Cross

Start Date

11-5-2018 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 1345

Description

This panel will address medieval Islamicate literary approaches to creatures who are neither ordinary humans nor ordinary animals. A plethora of spirits, monsters, and other enchanted beings play key roles in Persian, Arabic, and Turkish texts ranging from cosmological, geographical, and medical treatises to works of history, romance, and lyric poetry. How did the intellectual and cultural heritage of Islamic societies, including elements such as Hellenistic learning, pre-Islamic mythology and folklore, and Judaeo-Christian demonology, create a unique environment for writers to explore non-human ontologies? At the same time, authors could employ the explicit invocations of jinn, ghouls, and magic serpents in the Qur’an and hadith as defenses against charges of indulging in mere fantasy. In what ways did these references serve as intellectual justifications for literary curiosity regarding the extreme cases of created life—the invisible, magical, or extraordinary inhabitants of sites both local and exotic? How did situating these entities in either a distant haunted past and a perceptible present shape writers’ relationships to temporality? Open to contributions from scholars of literature, history, religion, and culture, amongst other disciplines, this panel seeks to provide a space for the discussion of these and related questions.

Cameron Cross

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May 11th, 3:30 PM

Jinn, Dragons, and Divs: Supernatural Beings in Medieval Islamicate Literatures

Schneider 1345

This panel will address medieval Islamicate literary approaches to creatures who are neither ordinary humans nor ordinary animals. A plethora of spirits, monsters, and other enchanted beings play key roles in Persian, Arabic, and Turkish texts ranging from cosmological, geographical, and medical treatises to works of history, romance, and lyric poetry. How did the intellectual and cultural heritage of Islamic societies, including elements such as Hellenistic learning, pre-Islamic mythology and folklore, and Judaeo-Christian demonology, create a unique environment for writers to explore non-human ontologies? At the same time, authors could employ the explicit invocations of jinn, ghouls, and magic serpents in the Qur’an and hadith as defenses against charges of indulging in mere fantasy. In what ways did these references serve as intellectual justifications for literary curiosity regarding the extreme cases of created life—the invisible, magical, or extraordinary inhabitants of sites both local and exotic? How did situating these entities in either a distant haunted past and a perceptible present shape writers’ relationships to temporality? Open to contributions from scholars of literature, history, religion, and culture, amongst other disciplines, this panel seeks to provide a space for the discussion of these and related questions.

Cameron Cross