Accepted paper:

Shabih-khani - to represent and present the real

Author:

Narges Ansari (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

How can we envisage a diagram which relies on its viewer for conveying a set of meanings? Looking at the rituals of shabih-khani this presentation draws on alternative understandings of reality as a departure point to problematise certain assumptions about the idea of reality and its depiction.

Paper long abstract:

How can we envisage a diagram which relies on its viewer for conveying a set of meanings?

By looking at the ethnography of the Shiite rituals of shabih-khani (or Ta'ziyeh), in which specific histori-mythical events from early Islamic history are re-enacted in the presence of a believing audience, this presentation explores the role of participant-observer as the creator, rather than a receiver, of a specific set of meanings and effects.

Concentrating on the process of re-enactment and that which it tries to capture during these rituals, this paper explores the possibility of a diagrammatic representation as a process in which "making present" rather than "re-presentation" functions as a means to elicit/reveal specific conceptions of reality and its manifestation. To this end it draws on alternative understandings of reality that is operative in such practices as shabih-khani and how it is accessed and related to as a departure point to problematise certain assumptions about the idea of an external, pre-existing reality and its depiction.

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