ABOUT THE CALENDAR
A New World Order: Authority, Sacrality and Early Islamic Architecture
Lecture | November 29 | 5 p.m. | 340 Stephens Hall
Professor Heba Mostafa, Sultan Post Doctoral Teaching Fellow/ Visiting Assistant Professor; History of Art Department; University of California, Berkeley
This talk interrogates the development of the spaces and locales of authority in early Islam as arenas for the negotiation of religio-political authority. This includes the early mosque and the Meccan House of Assembly (dār al-imāra) as well as other locales related to the promotion of authority, specifically the sacred precincts (ḥarams) of Mecca, Madina and Jerusalem. The talk will examine the Prophets mosque in Madina not only as a mosque space but also as a space of authority and a sacred precinct (ḥaram), taking into consideration Muhammads authority as Prophet, leader, military commander and judge. The questions will center on how these spaces and sites contributed to a cross-cultural initiative geared towards creating a narrative for the legitimacy of the Umayyad rulers as Gods caliphs. The objective of this talk is to articulate how the referencing of religio-political authority through space relied upon an invocation of a former presence or entity expressing the operative qualities of that authority. Thus the study allows for the interpretation of the mode of this invocation, be it through the use of inscriptions, symbolism or spatial relationships. Finally this study aims to reinterpret and contextualize early Islamic deployment of specific architectural elements with respect to their responsiveness to constructs of authority, of which this paper will highlight a selection.
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