"The Literature of Islamic Mysticism"
1999 NEH SUMMER SEMINAR FOR COLLEGE TEACHERS
The syllabus is designed to read heavily in material chosen by the seminar
director during the bulk of the seminar, yielding to the research projects
of the participants at the end. The syllabus provides general topics and
core readings, including some items that form the basis of a supplementary
bibliography that will be under development throughout the seminar. The
seminar's web page will contain this bibliography, which will be updated
14 June (M) Introduction; Outline of Seminar;
Discussion of Issues
Readings: Edward Said, Orientalism (New
York 1978; selections); Carl W. Ernst, The Shambhala Guide to Sufism
15 June (T) Reception with Carolina Seminar for
Comparative Islamic Studies
Reception for seminar participants. Middle Eastern
music by local musicians, 8:00 p.m., at the home of Carl and Judy Ernst.
16 June (W) Library Tour, 1:30 p.m., Davis
Library, with Bernice Bergup
17 June (Th) Describing Sufism: The Limits
of Comparative Mysticism
Readings: "Mysticism," Encyclopedia of Religion;
Michael Sells, "Bewildered Tongue: The Semantics of Mystical Union in Islam,"
in Moshe Idel and Bernard McGinn, ed., Mystical Union in Judaism, Christianity
and Islam: An Ecumenical Dialogue (New York, 1996), pp. 87-123; Annemarie
Schimmel, “Sufism and the Islamic Tradition,” in Steven T. Katz, ed., Mysticism
and Religious Traditions (New York, 1983), pp. 130-47; Carl W. Ernst,
"Mystical Language and the Teaching Context in the Early Sufi Lexicons,"
in Steven T. Katz, ed., Mysticism and Language (Oxford, 1992), pp.
18 June (F) Films
21 June (M) Towards a Definition of Sufi Poetry
Readings: Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah
Pourjavady, trans., The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi
Poetry (Grand Rapids, 1987); Annemarie Schimmel, As Through a Veil:
Mystical Poetry in Islam (New York, 1982).
24 June (Th) Arabic Mystical Poetry: Ibn al-Farid
Readings: Th. Emil Homerin, From Arab Poet
to Muslim Saint: Ibn al-Farid, His Verse, and His Shrine (Columbia
25 June (F) Translator’s Workshop: Arabic Sufi
Guest lecturer: Th. Emil Homerin (University
of Rochester); comparison translations by R. A. Nicholson, A. J. Arberry,
28 June (M) Poetry and Musical Performance
Readings: Regula Burckhardt Qureshi, Sufi
Music of India and Pakistan: Sound, Context and Meaning in Qawwali,
with CD (Chicago, 1995).
29 June (T) Colloquium with Triangle South Asia
1 July (Th) Translation in Theory and Practice
Readings: Willis Barnstone, The Poetics
of Translation: History, Theory, Practice (New Haven, 1993), pp. 1
to about 150; Robert Bly, The Eight Stages of Translation (Boston,
1983); Bruce Lawrence, "The
Trauma of Translating Sufi Texts from mid-Islamic Indo-Persian to post-Christian
AmEnglish" (unpublished essay -- click
on the title, and enter username "reli172-1" and password "hindustan" but
drop the quotation marks).
2 July (F) Films
Chishti Niche in the Global Sufi Network,"the final chapter of Burnt
Hearts: The Chishti Sufi Order in South Asia and Beyond, by Carl
W. Ernst and Bruce B. Lawrence. 7:30 p.m., at the home of Carl and Judy
6 July (T) Rumi: Literary Interpretation
Readings: Translations from Rumi's Divan-i
Shams-i Tabriz by Fatemeh Keshavarz, in Reading Mystical Poetry:
The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Columbia SC, 1998); "The
Life of Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi," from Carl Ernst, Teachings of
the Sufis (Boston: Shambala Publications, 1999); Franklin Lewis, "Introduction,"Rumi:
Past and Present, East and West (Oxford: Oneworld, 2000).
8 July (Th) Rumi: Creative Renderings
Readings: Translations from Rumi's Masnavi
by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, The Essential Rumi (San Francisco,
1995); comparison translations by R. A. Nicholson.
3 participant reports*
9 July (F) Translator’s Workshop: Persian Sufi
Guest lecturer: Fatemeh Keshavarz (Washington
University, St. Louis)
12 July (M) 6 participant reports*
15 July (Th) 6 participant reports*
16 July (F) Translator’s Workshop: Rumi
Guest lecturer: Coleman Barks
Readings in Mathnawi:
Moses and the Shepherd, II, 1720-96 (Barks,
Omar and the Old Poet, I, 2076, 2086-2101, 2106-9,
2163-66, 2175-2220 (Barks, p. 118)
Imra'u'l-Qays, VI, 3986-4010 (Barks, p. 90)
The Guest House, V, 3644-3646, 3676-3680, 3693-3695
(Barks, p. 109)
*Participant reports will be approximately one-half
hour (fifteen are built into the schedule). Readings appropriate to the
reports will be circulated in advance.
N.B. Required readings will be made available
through the UNC bookstore. Additional readings will be accessible through
password-protected pages of the seminar's web site.
Sponsorship and Local Arrangements
Venue. The seminar will be held on the
campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, which will be the
institutional sponsor, with cooperating sponsorship of the Institute for
the Arts and Humanities, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Carolina
Seminar for Comparative Islamic Studies (CSCIS). Seminar space will be
provided by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, which offers facilities
that will make the lengthy seminar sessions more physically congenial for
the participants, and which are centrally located on the campus.