Nov 4, 2013
- 6:30 pm
Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, 210 Euston Road, London NW1 2DA
“The earth is made transparent to me”: Space and Embodiment among Fakirs of Sehwan Sharif
Public lecture by Omar Kasmani
In Sehwan Sharif – a pilgrimage town in Sindh, Pakistan and home to the renowned antinomian mystic, La l Shahba z Qalandar (d.1274 CE) – fakirs rely on particular notions of embodiment as well as dreams and visitations to authorize their roles as spiritual guides and charismatic healers. The doing of fakiri, as research suggests, references at once its material, spatial and imaginative dimensions. In other words, the honing of inward as well as outward dispositions across female, male and khadra (or hijra) fakirs puts within reach new configurations of gender; enables a network of fakir spaces and communities; and reveals significant historical and imaginative continuities. Straddling fakir self-representations and historical imagination of the place, the talk aims to highlight the ways in which fakir bodies and capacities are contingent to fakir-spaces, and how dialogical realms of dreams and visions flow seamlessly into lived fakiri space.
Omar Kasmani is an anthropologist, architect, writer and artist. His work, both artistic and academic, lies at the intersection of gender, queer subjectivities and practices of devotion. His research focuses on male, female and hermaphrodite fakirs at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. He is currently based in Berlin where he is a doctoral candidate at the Freie Universita t, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. He holds a MA in Muslim Cultures from Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.