International Conference: Sufism and the Body

August 6, 2019

International Conference, 12-13 September 2019, Utrecht University
Venues: Sweelinckzaal Drift 21 and Stijlkamer Janskerkhof 13


Drawing on recent literature regarding sensation, embodiment, and the material turn in the study of religion, this conference assesses the role of the human body in Sufism. Sufism can often seem ambivalent with regard to the human body. Iconoclastic notions such as the inexplicable annihilation of the Sufi in God, as well as the need to subdue the body under the authority of the soul and detach oneself from worldly concerns, sit side by side with a rich repertoire of bodily practices (including techniques to deny and enjoy bodily pleasures) and a complex body-related material culture. As such, the theoretical and corporeal aspects of Sufism are not always treated together. This conference attempts to highlight the interconnection between the spiritual and corporeal in Sufism by examining the body in Sufi thought, practice, literature, and figural representation, through an interdisciplinary approach.


Due to a few late cancellations, the program has just been changed. To access the new program click on the link below.

Conference Program