"ISLAMIC SENSORY HISTORY: NOTES ON AN EMERGING FIELD"
Christian Lange, SENSIS/Utrecht University
Part of the Silsila Fall 2022 series, Body and Senses
The sensory turn in many areas of the humanities has so far failed to make a decisive impression on the study of Muslim cultures in historical perspective. However, in the last couple of years there has been a rise in interest in historical manifestations of the Muslim sensorium, as is demonstrated by a series of symposia devoted to the topic on both sides of the Atlantic, several large-scale research projects, as well as multiple ongoing publication projects, including a 2022 Special Issue of The Senses & Society (https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rfss20/current) and a multi-author Reader in Islamic Sensory History (forthcoming in Brill’s Handbook of Oriental Studies series, ed. Adam Bursi and Christian Lange). In this talk, I aim to summarize these recent developments, provide insights from a number of case studies, describe the challenges involved, and formulate some ambitions for the future study of Islamic sensory history.
Christian Lange (PhD Harvard, 2006) is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is the author of Justice, Punishment, and the Medieval Muslim Imagination (Cambridge 2008) and Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions (Cambridge 2016). From 2017 to 2023, he is the Principal Investigator of SENSIS (“The Senses of Islam”), a research project funded by the European Research Council (https://sensis.sites.uu.nl/).