“On the Visual Materiality of Practice of Alevi-Bektashi Communities in Germany,” The 9th European Conference of Iranian Studies (ECIS 9), 9–13 September 2019, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Aktivität: VorträgeVortragScience to Science


Within the Islamic mystical tradition, a powerful symbolic visual language was cultivated in order to convey important teachings. The paper will focus on Alevi-Bektashi visual-material culture which combines elements of Shiism and Sufism and will investigate the role that vision and the image play in the pious behaviour and imagination of Alevi-Bektashi communities in Germany. It will ask how this visual materiality negotiates meaning with regard to aspects of religious and mystic imagery marked by new patterns of engagement with both tradition (‘routinization’) and modernity. It will focus specifically on forms of Alevi-Bektashi devotional arts, such as paintings, posters, banners, photographs, and wall hangings, with the aim of elucidating both Alevi-Bektashi visual materiality in general and contemporary European mystical Islamic culture in particular. These forms will be examined in the context of Alevi-Bektashi gathering places, of related websites, and through participant-observational case-studies. The data is investigated in the context of the everyday vernacular religion of transnational Alevi-Bektashi networks, master-disciple relationships, ritual performances, religious disciplines, and beliefs. The paper suggests that the visual materiality of Alevi-Bektashi practice also involves a common conceptual vocabulary, a shared ‘text’ around which different ‘interpretative communities’ of Shiite colouring have evolved, thereby forming a kind of visual-material ‘lingua franca’ in the widest sense.
Zeitraum9 Sep. 201913 Sep. 2019
Gehalten amFreie Universität Berlin (FU), Deutschland, Berlin