WGS 340 • Sacred and Ceremonial Textiles
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
The communicative power of textiles and other types of material objects reflects both the everyday and the ceremonial lives of people in a society. This course focuses on textiles and material objects indigenous to the Islamic world, in an attempt to shed light on the culture of various Islamic societies. The study of the social and historical background of a community is essential for the interpretation of meanings and symbolism associated with textiles and other elements of material objects. Such a study will be combined in the course with topics like ceremonial gatherings; ceremonial textiles; adornment (jewelry, tattoos, body-painting); body modifications (piercing and body-reshaping); and the role of material objects in public and private celebrations. One area where material objects are representative relates to practices of rituals and rites of passage in the Muslim societies can be traced to the pre-Islamic era. Muslim communities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East will be the primary focus of the course, and an attempt will be made to trace the common origins of ritual practices and their representation as a result of diffusion and contact with other regional practices. Course presentations will be supported by videos, slides, and various material objects.
A packet of readings prepared by the instructor, including relevant articles and visual documents.