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Worlding the Qur’an: A corpus of 18th-19th century Illuminated Qur’an manuscripts from coastal East Africa
Drawing upon his recent research on a little-known corpus of 18th–19th century illuminated Qur’ans from Pate Island in Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago, this seminar paper will discusses how these remarkable manuscripts disrupt and challenge conceptions of the African Swahili-speaking Muslim communities that produced them as peripheral to the wider Muslim world, and their material culture as derivative of the Islamic art produced by Muslim communities around the Indian Ocean littoral who migrated to their shores or with whom they traded. As such, the paper proposes reading the style and aesthetics of these manuscripts not only as a reflection of the context in which they were produced but also as world-making material culture practices that projected and cultivated the manuscript producers’ understanding of their worldview, history, society and culture.

Jun 1, 2021 05:00 PM in London

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