"The Literature of Islamic Mysticism"

1999 NEH SUMMER SEMINAR FOR COLLEGE TEACHERS

Syllabus















Syllabus. 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 periodically.

Week 1

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 (Boston 1997). 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. 181-201. 18 June (F) Films
 
 

Week 2

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 SC, 1994) 25 June (F) Translator’s Workshop: Arabic Sufi Poetry. Guest lecturer: Th. Emil Homerin (University of Rochester); comparison translations by R. A. Nicholson, A. J. Arberry, Martin Lings.
   
Week 3

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 Consortium
"The 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 Ernst.
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
 

Week 4

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 Poetry Guest lecturer: Fatemeh Keshavarz (Washington University, St. Louis) Week 5

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, p. 165)
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.