Session d’études doctorales de l’IISMM «Islam, the body and the self», 13-17 mars 2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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En partenariat avec le Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies (NISIS), le Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), le Marburg University et la Faculty of Islamic studies de Sarajevo

Et avec le soutien du GIS Moyen-Orient et mondes musulmans (CNRS)

Responsables scientifiques:

  • Mercedes Volait

Directeur de recherche au CNRS

Directeur du laboratoire InVisu, INHA, Paris

Institut d’études de l’Islam et des Sociétés du Monde musulman

  • Petra de Bruijn

Lecturer in Turkish studies,

Middle Eastern Studies Leiden University

InterUniversity School for Islamic Studies

Director ad interim Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies

  • Ahmet Alibasic

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Islamic Studies



Arrivée le 12 mars 2017, départ le 17 mars 2017


Sarajevo, Bosnie


Islam, le corps et le for intérieur / Islam, the body and the self


Histoire – Histoire de l’art – Archéologie – Anthropologie – Sociologie –Philosophie – Islamologie


Islam, the body and the self

Religion is not exclusively about textuality. We cannot study religion without taking into account the multiple dimensions of the body as an object of research in its own right. This is also the case with Islam. The body is the oldest and probably most essential religious medium. Oral transmission is considered the most appropriate way of transmitting the word of God. Just as in any religious tradition at the heart of Islam is the body as the carrier of that tradition.

There are many normative references in theological and juridical sources to various aspects and features of the body. There is an intriguing paradox with respect to the position of the body in Islamic tradition. Although it is considered as the central carrier of tradition, the centrality of the body may also easily open up to idolatry. Iconography is an important emerging field in Islamic studies because it explores among other things the dynamics of the imagination of the human body in Islam in relation to its central religious tenets dealing with its representation. The growth of the modern media replete with images adds new dimensions to the study of iconography and the body.

Religious boundary making also works through the body. The body is the pivotal object of imagination and symbolism in interactions between the self and the other and between Muslims and non-Muslims. Processes of boundary making, othering, exclusion and physical extinction, but also reconciliation and dialogue, always take place through corporeal practices and interactions. Under conditions of war, bodily violence constitutes a compelling and extreme form of boundary making. It involves the use of the body to establish the parameters of otherness, taking the body apart to define the enemy within. But we can also think of more banal and everyday situations of boundary making in which the body plays a central role such as sport and the bodily culture that surrounds it.

And last but not least, the body is the single most important vessel for religious practice. Religion is performed through the body and reversely, stages in the lives of individuals such as birth, marriage and family formation, death and burial constitute important ritual moments in religious traditions. Religiosity is being shaped and re-shaped under changing circumstances through the process of embodiment. The body in Islam has a history in this respect. Ethical and moral improvement, the disciplining of the body for moral improvement, the formation and fashioning of the (Islamic) self is first and foremost accomplished, enabled, but also limited by our bodies. Rituals, acquiring and disseminating knowledge, and disciplinary practices, are accomplished through embodiment. And being in the world, self-understanding, the making of selfhood, and identity-making cannot be properly understood if we would ignore the crucial agency of the body.

We invite researchers explicitly working on the body, but also those not explicitly addressing the body, to explore the relevance of the body and the self in their work.

Déroulement de la session

Les matinées sont consacrées à des exposés magistraux par l’équipe encadrante ; les après-midis sont réservés à des ateliers de travail autour des recherches doctorales des étudiants qui participent à la session. Les débats et les interventions se dérouleront en anglais. La participation exige une bonne compréhension de l’anglais, ainsi qu’une véritable capacité à s’exprimer dans cette langue.


Une douzaine d’étudiants inscrits dans les formations doctorales en France seront sélectionnés par l’IISMM.

Procédure de candidature

Les étudiants inscrits dans une université française candidatent auprès de l’IISMM. Ils soumettent un dossier comportant les pièces suivantes :

– une lettre de motivation en anglais (1 à 2 pages maximum),

– un résumé de la thèse en anglais (2 pages maximum),

– une proposition d’intervention en relation avec le thème de la session, assortie d’une courte biographie, le tout en anglais,

– un CV (rédigé en français ou en anglais),

– une lettre de soutien du directeur de thèse. 

Les candidats retenus s’engagent à assister à la totalité de la session. Leurs frais de mission étant pris en charge, ils s’engagent également à respecter les dates de départ et de retour qu’implique la session. 

Date limite de réception des candidatures : 15 janvier 2017 par poste (IISMM, 96 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris) ou par mail à , avec copie à

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