Monsters, Hexes, Nightmares: An Exploration into the Dar Side of Islamic Art- RSA 2022

Saygin Salgirli's picture
Call for Papers
March 30, 2022
Ireland {Republic}
Subject Fields: 
Psychology, Religious Studies and Theology, Islamic History / Studies

Monsters, Hexes, Nightmares: An Exploration into the Dark Side of Islamic Art


This panel invites papers that investigate the visualizations of horrors, terrors, and malevolence in early-modern Islamic art (c. 1400-1800). From individual depictions of various “monsters” (jinns, divs, Iblis, etc.) to narrative cycles, from treatises on the occult to astronomical texts, a darker realm lurked in the arts of the Islamic world. Although not necessarily produced to evoke fear, nor defined and understood as dark, images of this invisible and other dimension had a potent presence that operated at the juncture of religion, science & medicine, superstition, and fantasy. Rather than descriptive accounts, the panel seeks papers that employ theoretical lenses (monster theory, affect theory, philosophy of horror, posthuman / inhuman studies, etc.) and  innovative methodologies, addressing questions beyond style, genre, taxonomy, and representation. If a jinn from pre-Islamic Arab mythology could find its way simultaneously into the Quran, and into a constellation drawn from Greek mythology, all normative categories and modes of analyses fail. Hence, the primary aim of the panel is to highlight how images from / of the “dark side” performed in their individual contexts, what affects they activated, what boundaries they crossed, and what worlds they connected. Particularly welcome are comparative (within and beyond the Islamic world) and/or multidisciplinary studies, and papers that work across media.


Please submit a title, a 150-word abstract, a current CV, PhD or other terminal degree completion date (past or expected), and primary discipline (as listed at to Saygin Salgirli (, by August 5, 2021.

Contact Info: 

Saygin Salgirli, University of British Columbia 

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