Nanterre, France 10-13th July 2012
Uncertainty and disquiet
The European Association of Social Anthropologists is holding its biennial conference next year in Nanterre, Paris. The Call for Paper is now open. It will close soon on November 28th but you can still propose a paper here.
Note that there will be a workshop entitled “Muslim Saints, Dreams, and Veneration of Shrines”, organized by Dr.I.Edagr (Dept. Anthropology, University of Durham, UK) and Dr.P. Khosronejad (Dept. Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, Scotland). Here as follows is a description of this workshop:
“The human need to orientate their inner quest for wisdom guidance and healing with outer spatial settings is well manifest in the many traditions of pilgrimage to Saints’ tombs in the Islamic world, and in other major faith traditions (i.e. Crapanzano 1973). The particular tradition of dream questing at sacred sites is well documented in the ancient Greek tradition of healing dream incubation in the Aesclepian temples in Turkey and Greece. Such practices may have informed the present day ubiquitous Islamic dream incubation practice of istikhara (Aydar 2009; Edgar & Henig 2010).
The dream practices of the Prophet Mohammed sanctified the occasional possibility of al-ruya, the true dream or vision. Many of the defining events of Islam are dream related. The Prophet Mohammed is thought to have received 1/46 of the Qur’an in night dreams, many Muslims consider his night journey to Jerusalem to have occurred in a dream, and the Eshan, the call to prayer is recorded as being received by the prophet’s companion, Zaid, in a dream. The strongest hadiths i.e. Bukhari and Muslim all have a chapter on the teaching concerning dreaming by the Prophet Mohamed (Edgar 2011). Throughout the history of Islam, the night dream is thought to offer a way to metaphysical and divinatory knowledge, to be a practical, alternative and potentially accessible source of imaginative inspiration and guidance, and to offer ethical clarity concerning action in this world. Moreover dreaming seems to be similarly important across all Islamic groups, Sunni, Shia, Salafi and particularly amongst the various Sufi orders (Edgar 2011). Even amongst al-Qaeda and the Taliban (Edgar 2007) true dreams are considered as offering divine revelation and even strategic guidance.
Such an ethical mandate for the occasional divine significance of dreams however does not explain why Muslims often practice pilgrimage to Saints’ tombs to facilitate the phenomena of a true dream. Humans dream each night in the interior space of their mind/brain for still unknown scientific reasons. Why then this historical and contemporary regard for spatial and geographical convergence of the outer body and self with the enhanced possibility of inner dream vision? This workshop will consider at least the following questions:
– The historical and contemporary extent of dream pilgrimage to Saints’ shrines,
– Perceptions of hierognosis within reported dream imagery at Saints’ tombs,
– Comparisons between pilgrimage per se and dream quests to Saints’ tombs,
– Interior and exterior geographies of Baraka as experienced in dreams and through pilgrimage,
– Experiencing and defining the sites of selfhood and Sainthood,
– Anthropological typologies and ethnographies of such performances,
– The psychology of the dream vision quest: the preparation for, experience of, and interpretation of dream events at saints’ tombs,
– Islamic accounting for wisdom transmission across the visibly alive: visibly dead binary opposition.”
For any inquiries please contact: Dr.I.Edgar (firstname.lastname@example.org)