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ItemRemixing Religion: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference(2014-04-04) Weisenfeld, Judith; Muir, Scott; Sienna, Noam; Tepera, Courtney; Hazard, Sonia; Mundra, Anil; Ceriello, Linda; Adelakun, Abimbola; Kane, Ross; Loar, Jonathan; Maldonado, Alyssa; Frankfurter, David; Comerford, Bennett DiDente; Mazhjoo, Nina; Tobolowsky, Andrew; Greenlee, Robert; Hernandez, E. J.; Kerby, Lauren; MacCormack, IanReligions mix. Scholars of religion have employed a variety of terms to describe the processes and results of religious mixing, including syncretism, hybridity, creolization, bricolage, transculturation, and blending. Although some of these terms are useful conceptual tools, at root they replicate problematic binaries or reduce religious mixing to contagion. Many of these terms have scurrilous histories of application, often to silence marginalized voices, impose unity, and fortify institutional power. The debate over terminology—even when used “neutrally”—detracts from the creation of more nuanced models of religious synthesis. A new approach is needed. In order to overcome this terminological impasse, we suggest adopting a placeholder term—such as ‘mixing’ or ‘synthesis’—for the dynamic process of religious interchange. We are interested in models of religious mixing that attend to diversity without replicating troublesome binaries. Pure forms—if they ever existed—are relegated to the mists of early pre-history. Religions are heterogeneous constellations of historically contingent components from the start. Such an approach can attend to the agency of individual religious authorities and practitioners, the power-laden discourses that belie and constitute the process of mixing, and the competition between these discourses. ItemLeaving Iberia: A Mufti, His Fatwa, and the Islamic Obligation to Emigrate(2014-04-11) Hendrickson, JocelynDuring the fall of al-Andalus (known to Christians as the reconquista) some of the first substantial Muslim populations came under permanent non-Muslim rule. For centuries, Muslims had lived alongside Jews and Christians who accepted a subordinate, dhimmī status. Christian conquest inverted this hierarchy and thus presented novel and difficult questions for Muslim jurists. Could Muslims accept minority status under Christian rule, or must they emigrate to Muslim-ruled territory? Scholars interested in Islamic legal responses to Christian conquest have devoted generous attention to the legal opinions (fatwās) of one jurist in particular, Fez’s chief muftī Ahmad al-Wansharīsī (died 1508). In this talk, I explore multiple ways o reading al-Wansharīsī’s infamous fatwās obligating Iberian Muslims to leave their conquered homelands. Did these texts speed the “downfall of Spanish Islam”? Do they represent Islamic law at its medieval worst, strict and inhumane? Or were they a thinly veiled commentary on the lesser-known Reconquest, the expansion of Portugal into Morocco? Are the questions posed to al-Wansharīsī “true” stories? This talk critiques the perceived exceptionalism of the Iberian Muslim predicament, takes a fresh look at Muslim-Christian relations in North Africa, and considersfatwās as narratives of indigenous resistance and political critique. ItemThe Way I See It: Reflections of an Arab-American Journalist on the Middle East, Media and the State of Journalism(2014-04-24) Mohyeldin, AymanAyman Mohyeldin is a Foreign Correspondent for NBC News based in Cairo. Prior to joining NBC, Ayman was a correspondent for Al Jazeera English based in Cairo where he was at the epicenter of Arab uprisings covering the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. From May 2008 until May 2010, Ayman was the only foreign broadcast journalist based in the Gaza Strip. During the 2008/2009 War on Gaza, he was the only American journalist reporting live from Gaza. In 2011, Time Magazine named Ayman as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. For his reporting, Ayman has won a Peabody Award, the UK’s Cutting Edge Media Award and Argentina’s prestigious Perfil International Press Freedom Award. He has received multiple Emmy nominations throughout his career. Ayman was born in Cairo, Egypt but grew up in between the US and the Middle East. ItemPoets and Teachers in Hades: The Katabasis as Authorial Satire(2014-04-29) Nilsson, IngelaThis lecture will focus on the underworld as a place where one may encounter authors and intellectuals of the past or the present; a platform where their issues may be displayed and discussed. These discussions may function as comical, critical, or subversive approaches towards power structures. Nilsson argues that this characteristic may be seen in early modern and modern European versions of the katabasis motif, but also in Greek models of late antiquity and in Byzantium. Special focus will be placed on twelfth-century Byzantium and the anonymous dialogue Timarion.