Two upcoming Islamic Print Culture Events: Feb 21 + Feb 22

Please join us for two upcoming CAH/FAAH events that deal with Arabic print culture:

Tuesday, Feb 21: Book Discussion: Print Cultures in the 19th Century Islamic World

Time + Location: 5:00-6:30 PM, Building 37 (Center for the Arts + Humanities, AUB)

Discussants: Jan van der Putten (University of Hamburg) + Hala Auji (AUB)

Moderator: Bilal Orfali (AUB)

This event will be a public discussion of Hala Auji’s recent monograph on 19th century Arabic book culture, Printing Arab Modernity: Book Culture and the American Press in 19th Century Beirut (Brill: 2016), which is located in the interstices of art history, book and print culture, and studies of Arab modernity and Ottoman historiographies. Printing Arab Modernity examines the American Protestant mission’s Arabic publications printed in Beirut for Ottoman readers during a period dominated by Islamic and Christian manuscript practices. This book also explores the growing significance of the visual dimensions of print for such audiences, specifically how print reflected a push-pull dynamic between the continuity of scribal customs and an experimentation with new technologies. This was indicative of a moment when local intellectuals were formulating a visual language that negotiated their varied communal concerns, political motivations, and intellectual conceptions of a modern society.

Although the subject of this book centers on the Arab Nahda period in Ottoman Beirut, the book discussion considers a wider, globally comparative perspective by exploring print-related developments during this period in the Global South, specifically Southeast Asia. The conversation between Dr. Jan van der Putten and Auji will provide a new perspective from which we can consider the history of book culture during transitional periods such as the 19th century, and to explore how notions of modernity varied or overlapped in different regions, which also saw encounters between Islamic communities and Christian missionary groups.

https://www.facebook.com/events/694961847341501/

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Wednesday, Feb 22: Manuscript Cultures and the Start of an Indigenous Printing Industry in Maritime Southeast Asia

Time + Location: 6:00-7:30 PM, Building 37 (Center for the Arts + Humanities, AUB)

Speaker: Dr. Jan van der Putten (University of Hamburg)

The development of manuscript cultures in insular Southeast Asia may be viewed as the vernacularisation of Indian and Arabic traditions. These traditions brought the scripts which over time developed into localised scripts, and prompted the creation of written traditions and book culture in a region that continued to be predominantly oral in its orientation. The region is vast and characterised by an enormous linguistic and cultural diversity of communities which in the premodern era were connected through religious and mercantile networks.

In this talk I will concisely introduce some of the most conspicuous manuscript traditions of the region and try to sketch the position of an indigenous book production starting in the second half of the 19th century. This budding printing industry developed in the shadow of the British and Dutch colonial authorities and was propelled by the relations Muslim communities maintained with the Middle East.

About the Speaker:
Jan van der Putten is Professor Austronesistik in the Department of Southeast Asia (Asien-Afrika-Institut) at the University of Hamburg where he teaches on Southeast Asian literatures and cultures. Traditional Malay writing is one of his main research areas and he is a member of the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at the University of Hamburg supervising a research project about the Changing Practices of the 19th-century Malay Manuscript Economy. He also ventures into other types and periods of Malay-language cultural traditions where he explores the meaning of traditional and popular Malay texts and how these texts are disseminated among peoples and exchanged between cultures. 

Recent publications include ‘Dirty Dancing’ and Malay anxieties: the changing context of Malay Ronggeng in the first half of the twentieth century’, ‘Going Against the Tide: The Politics of language Standardisation in Indonesia’, ‘Malaiische Erotika: Biedere Sexualethik in obszönen Versen’, and Translation in Asia. Theories, Practices, Histories (co-edited with Ronit Ricci, 2011).

http://www.facebook.com/events/316230898772084/

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Events Organized by:
Hala Auji, 2016-17 CAH Faculty Fellow & Assistant Professor of Islamic Art, Fine Arts and Art History, AUB, ha156@aub.edu.lb