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Can Emotions Make History? Early Islamic Conversion, Migration, and Conquest

  • Karen Bauer
Tuesday 6 March 2018
Free to visit
LUCIS Spring Fellow 2018: Karen Bauer
Van Wijkplaats
Van Wijkplaats 2
2311 BX Leiden

Why bother?

Why should we bother with the historical study of emotions? This lecture examines the centrality of the emotional experience to narratives of conversion, migration, and conquest within the text of the Qur’an and sīra (biography of the Prophet). These texts set up the expectation of an emotional response to God’s message and to the experience of the early Muslim community. Furthermore, emotive themes in the Qur’an are fulfilled in emotive scenes in the sīra literature. This lecture makes the case that emotion plays an important role in the way these stories are remembered and recorded.

About Karen Bauer

Dr. Karen Bauer (PhD, Princeton, 2008) is a Senior Research Associate in the Qur’anic Studies Unit at the institute of Ismaili studies. She specialises in Islamic social and intellectual history; her specific interests include the Qur’an and Qur’anic exegesis, emotions and emotional rhetoric in Islamic history, and gender in Islamic history and thought. Her research centers on medieval texts, but she occasionally ventures into modern territory, such as when she interviewed religious scholars (ʿulamaʾ) in Iran and Syria for her book Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an. She has published on subjects such as emotional rhetoric in the Qur'an, women’s right to be judges in medieval Islamic law, the potential and actual audiences for medieval tafsīr, and the formula pertaining to kindness in marriage present in both tafsīr and the documentary evidence of contracts of marriage. She is active in the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA).

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