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Conferência “Constructions of Transnational Shi’ism: Pilgrimage and Religious Imagination at the Ziyarat al-‘Arbaiyyn, in Iraq” (Paulo Hilu Pinto)

09/10/2018, 18:00

“Constructions of Transnational Shi’ism: Pilgrimage and Religious Imagination at the Ziyarat al-‘Arbaiyyn, in Iraq”
Paulo Hilu Pinto (Universidade Federal Fluminense)

9 de outubro de 2018, 18h
Multiusos 2, Edifício ID, NOVA FCSH

Organização: CRIA | AZIMUTE – Estudos em Contextos Árabes e Islâmicos


This lecture focuses on the processes of construction the Imam ‘Ali shrine and other shrines and tombs in Najaf, Iraq as a Shi‘i holy site, and their appropriation and resignification thorough practices of pilgrimage and visitation. The pilgrimage (ziyara) to shrines, tombs and holy places allows pilgrims from various parts of the world to experience a close and direct contact with the places and figures of sacred histories that are constructed as Islamic/Universal; Shi‘i; Arab; or specifically Iraqi. The multilayered religious experiences produced through pilgrimage rituals or visitation practices allow the various religious and national identities of pilgrims and visitors to be articulated to transnational religious or political imaginaries through their attachment to these shrines and holy places, which are invested with multiple layers of religious meanings, creating a tense connection between the plurality of identities among the pilgrims and visitors and the religious imaginaries that are invested in these shrines. The ethnographic data analyzed in this article were collected during fieldwork research done at Saiyda Zaiynab between 2000 and 2010, and in Najaf during the ziyara arba‘iyyn in December 2012 and January 2013.


Paulo G. Pinto is Ph.D. in Anthropology from Boston University. He is professor of Anthropology at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil, where he is also director of the Center for Middle East Studies. He did ethnographic fieldwork in Syria in various periods from 1999 to 2010. In 2012-2013 he did ethnographic fieldwork of the ziyāra al-arba‘iyyn in Najaf and Karbala, Iraq. He also has done fieldwork with the Muslim communities in Brazil (2003-2017), Paraguay (2005, 2006, 2011, 2015), and Argentina (2018). He is author of articles and books on Sufism and other forms of Islam in contemporary Syria, as well as on Arab ethnicity and Muslim communities in Brazil. His recent publications include Ethnographies of Islam: Ritual Performances and Everyday Practices. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013, which he co-edited with Baudoin Dupret, Thomas Pierret and Kathryn Spelman-Poots; and Crescent Over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean and Latino USA. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015, which he co-edited with John Karam and Maria del Mar Logroño Narbona.


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AZIMUTE – Estudos em Contextos Árabes e Islâmicos


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