Sixth session of the lecture series
organised by the Institute for Asian and African Studies (IAAW), the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS) and Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)
From the late nineteenth century, the hajj underwent massive structural transformations as a consequence of its integration into the global networks of industrial communications. This transformation involved a sequence of interdependent developments. In geographical terms, steamship and rail networks inexorably funneled pilgrims through non-Muslim regions, especially the cosmopolitan steam ports that were so prominent a feature of nineteenth century globalization. In social terms, steam travel introduced pilgrims to a variety of non-Muslim peoples in ships, trains and ports, structuring their encounters with a non-Muslim world. And in semantic terms, these social encounters provoked pilgrims to consider ideas and ideologies of non-Muslim provenance. Integration into the new transport infrastructure thus affected the hajj in both its ‘soft’ (semantic) and ‘hard’ (mechanic) dimensions, rendering it, paradoxically and problematically, a journey among non-Muslim places, peoples and ideas. Yet from the 1950s, the rise of cheap air travel would replace these cosmopolitan itineraries with direct flights to the Hijaz that served to re-Islamize the experience of the hajj. This paper focuses instead on the globalizing steam era that preceded that subsequent, and current, period of re-Islamization.
Bio note: Nile Green is professor of history at UCLA. His many books include Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam (Oxford, 2015) and The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London (Princeton, 2016).
My lecture will explore the transformative effects of European imperialism on the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. It will focus particularly on the spatial dimensions of these changes and their effects: namely, the reorganization of global hajj routes; the exposure of hajj pilgrims to human and physical landscapes unknown to those who had come before them; and new close encounters between Muslims and non-Muslims around the world.
Bio note: Eileen Kane is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Program in Global Islamic Studies at Connecticut College. She is the author of Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (2015), the first history in any language of the hajj under Russian rule.
Gudrun Krämer (Freie Universität Berlin / Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies)
29.06.2017 | 18:00 - 20:00
Freie Universität Berlin
Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies