Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - Voices of Regret: The Materiality of Sound in Contemporary Azeri-Turkish Shī’ism.

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

In text and print, Islamic ritual language appears to be standardized and widespread, yet sounded ritual practices and forms of religious expressive culture tend to vary more widely across time and space, evoking the diversity at the core of identity and faith. Through a focus on forms of sounded practice and devotional expression, this paper builds on recent studies in anthropology and ethnomusicology that ask, how does Shī’ah Islam sound? 


Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, my research focuses on Azeri Ithnā 'Asharī Shī’ahs living in Northeastern Turkey, Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. I consider practices of ritual recitation and listening at mourning gatherings held in remembrance of the Ahl al-Bayt, examining the role of sound in delineating the boundaries of Shī’ism locally and their transnational connections. By drawing attention to questions of the materiality of voice, performance, embodiment, and mediation in ritual, I highlight the need for the development of a ‘sonic’ understanding of Shī’ism which is grounded in ethnography. 



Stefan Fa

UCL, United Kingdom

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1 - Voices of Regret: The Materiality of Sound in Contemporary Azeri-Turkish Shī’ism.



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