Leiden Lecture on Arabic Language and Culture | Feelings Matter: Emotions in Medieval Arabic

Siham Alatassi's picture
February 15, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies

On 15 February 2018, LUCIS organizes the sixth Leiden Lecture on Arabic Language and Culture. Julia Bray, the Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford will present this edition. The lecture will take place in the Small Auditorium of the Academy Building. Free drinks after the lecture.



Feelings matter: Emotions in medieval Arabic

The history of emotions is an established field in European studies. It covers all periods and many disciplines. Its premise is that emotions are shaped by culture, and that their expression and effects should be contextualised in time and place. More than this, the history of emotions argues that emotion and intellect are interconnected, and that understanding emotion is central to understanding the past. This talk argues that we need an Arabic history of emotions, for which the written materials are both abundant and challenging. The difficulty of identifying and interpreting emotions in medieval Arabic writing—those it depicts, and those in which it engages the reader—makes us ask what purposes they serve, reveals connections between different modes of thinking, and enriches our literary, historical and human understanding.

About the speaker

After a BA at the university of Oxford, Julia Bray worked as an archivist at the India Office Library & Records while writing her doctoral thesis on medieval Arabic poetic criticism. She has taught Arabic and Arabic literature at several universities in the UK (Manchester, Edinburgh, Oxford, St Andrews) and at Paris 8—Vincennes Saint-Denis in France. Bray has been professor of Classical Arabic at Oxford since 2012. She is a contributing member of the editorial board of the Library of Arabic Literature, which aims to bring readable translations of Arabic classics to a wide audience, and she is co-editor of the monograph series Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature, which contextualises medieval Arabic literature for comparatists, Middle East and European medievalists and readers interested in theories and practices of literature. She has just completed the first instalment of a translation of al-Tanūkhī’s Deliverance follows adversity for the Library of Arabic Literature. Other projects include working with fellow medievalists to establish the history of emotions as a field of Arabic studies.

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