8th LUCIS Annual Conference | Islamic Visualities and In/Visibilities: Reimagining Public Citizenship?
- 13 December 2017 – 15 December 2017
- Gravensteen Building
2311 SR Leiden
From Wednesday 13 until Friday 15 December 2017, the 8th annual conference of LUCIS will take place in Leiden. This year’s theme is Islamic Visualities and In/Visibilities: Reimagining Public Citizenship? Our keynote speaker is James Hoesterey from Emory University. The conference will take place in multiple locations of the Gravensteen Building. For more information, please consult the programme.
About the conference
This conference invites speakers from different disciplines to reflect on images as sites of religious inspiration, contestation, and imagination among Muslims in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The conference brings into conversation different aspects of the relationship between Islam and (ideas about) visuality.
What is the impact of images, visual communication, and the emergence of (new) visual cultures on the ways in which Islam is practiced, experienced, and interpreted? How do processes of religious change, such as the so-called Islamic revival, affect ways of seeing and ideas about what may and what may not be seen, and by whom?
These questions are increasingly urgent in an era of visual excess, in which the questioning and fragmentation of traditional religious authority goes hand in hand with the emergence of new Islamic visualities, and in which images of Islam are increasingly prolific in public spaces in both Muslim-majority and minority settings, drawing a variety of responses.
At the same time, we see this conference as an opportunity to discuss and evaluate much needed methodological and conceptual innovation in the study of Islam, which remains until this day dominated by an emphasis on oral and textual traditions and often passes over the everyday visual practices that are equally part of the religious lives of Muslims. How might the study of Islam benefit (more) from the turn to the visual in the humanities and the social sciences? What possibilities, practices, problems, questions, techniques, and agendas have arisen from this turn, and how can they help advance the study of Islam?
We approach these questions by focusing on practices of image-making. Islamic visualities, in our approach, comprise images and ways of seeing that are charged with religious meaning, as well as images and ways of seeing that bear on the image of the Islamic religion or culture as a whole. The concept of image-making – referring to the creativity and agency vested in the creation of images as well as the practices, relationships, and politics that inform the way in which “Islam” is seen – provides a fruitful starting point for the study of Islamic visualities and their impact on people and societies throughout the world.
Our goal is not to replace a “textual” approach by one that is “visual” in orientation. Instead, speakers are encouraged to take into account the mutuality of visual and verbal/textual traditions and its analysis. The setup of this conference thus serves to address a broad range of possibilities, creativities, contradictions, and tensions associated with Islamic visualities.
James Hoesterey (Emory University) on Digital Duplicity: Piety, Scandal, and the (Un)making of Islamism in Indonesia.