Department of Iranian Studies, Yerevan State University
Armenian Association for Academic Partnership and Support
Cordially invite you to participate in the ARMACAD lecture on
“Persian Qalandars: From Deviancy to Domestication”
Dr. Lloyd Ridgeon
Date: 26 May 2010, Wednesday
Venue: Department of Iranian Studies, Yerevan State University
Deadline to Register: 25 May 2010
In this lecture Dr. Ridgeon will attempt to outline how a group of Persian dervishes, known as Qalandar(an), emerged as a result of life imitating art. From the pages of mystical Persian poetry of the eleventh and twelfth centuries we find references to individuals who adopted a lifestyle of renunciation, non-conformism, and deviancy from Islamic “norms”. By the thirteenth century fiction became fact and the social phenomenon of the Qalandars emerged in the Islamic world. Finally, in the Safavid period during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the pressures for conformity were perhaps too great, and the Qalandars were virtually domesticated, although their traces remained concealed within many aspects of Persian society, such as in newly emerging strands of Sufism and urban economic associations. An appreciation of the role of the Qalandars in Iran is important because it demonstrates just how broad “Islamic” faith and practice was in the pre-modern period. Although they were widely condemned and castigated, the existence of the Qalandars provided an abhorrent pleasure for many, or to use Julia Kristeva’s expression, “the abject is edged with the sublime.”
BIO: Dr. Ridgeon is a Reader in Islamic Studies at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow. He teaches courses on Classical Islam, Modern Islamic Thought, Modern Iran, etc. His research interests comprise Persian Literature, Iranian History and Culture, Classical and Modern Sufism and Islamic History. His recent publications include:
Persian Metaphysics and Mysticism (Curzon 2002), ISBN 070070666-6, pp. 241.
Sufi Castigator: Ahmad Kasravi and the Iranian Mystical Tradition (Routledge, 2005), ISBN 0415316359, pp. 332.
“War and Peace in Islam” in P. Schmidt-Leukal (ed), War and Peace in World Religions (SCM Press, 2004). ISBN 0334029384.
“Makhmalbaf’s Broken Mirror: The Socio-Political Significance of Modern Iranian Cinema” Durham Middle East Papers, 2000.
“The Islamic Apocalypse: Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Moment of Innocence” in Brent Plate (ed), Representing Religion in World Cinema (Palgrave: 2003). ISBN 1403960518. pp. 145-58