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Title: Multiple paths to the holy : continuity and change in Bosnian Hajj literature
Author: Karic, Dzenita
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 9599
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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We have witnessed a rising interest in different aspects of ḥajj and related phenomena over the last decades. This long durée study presents a complex analysis of literature about ḥajj written by Bosnian Muslims from the 16th to 20th centuries, encompassing different types of material in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Bosnian. This study focuses not only on the ritual itself (ḥajj), the sacred places where it is performed (Mecca and Medina), but also on the journey to these places. The major premise behind such an endeavour is that space is not a static entity; it succumbs to social and cultural predispositions, but also personal inclinations. The thesis consists of an introduction, four main chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter is titled "Arguments of Sanctity" and deals with the beginnings of ḥajj writings in Bosnian culture. The process of Islamization and different mechanisms of adoption of Ottoman culture, as well as the adoption of languages which enhanced the Ottomanization process affected the emergence of particular soteriological arguments about the sanctity of Mecca and Medina. The second chapter, titled "Paths to the Sacred" follows a different direction. The realities it presents mostly belong to the 18th century. This chapter presents the circumstances for the rise of literacy and the increased use of Ottoman Turkish. With regard to social context, a rising interest in descriptions of the world is noticeable, and in terms of ḥajj writings, this means that the journey becomes textually more important than the aim. The third chapter, "The Sacred and the Political", sheds light on a radically new period in Bosnian ḥajj literature. What is observable is a development from an ideologically cautious narrative to an overtly political one, where Mecca and Medina are no longer simply domains of imperial control, objects of textual argumentation, or places of utmost piety, but also sites where political hopes are evoked and projected upon. The fourth chapter carries the title "Between the Holy and Homeland" and deals with the development of ḥajj literature after the Second World War up to the early 1980s. The post-WWII period brings different types of ḥajj imageries which fit different modernist frameworks, from state-controlled depictions of Mecca and Medina, ḥajj as a postponed opportunity for religious revival, to the emergence of marginalized voices trying to bridge the perceived gap between the holy sites and homeland. The choice of a religious and literary production of a small ethnic group can shed light on different mechanisms of religious adoption and adaptation, as well as resistances and allegiances in the later period. Ḥajj imagery, in that context, presents highly rich textual material for the study of religious change and continuity over a long time span.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral