115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Vision and Desire: Between the Body and the Unseen

Session Chair: 
Domenico Ingenito, UCLA
Session 10: Sunday 10 – 11:30 am
Ching 253


  1. Parwana Fayyaz, University of Cambridge
    Jāmi uses Islamic Neoplatonic notions of sight and vision to draw distinctions between physical desire and mystical union in his poem, Salāmān va Absāl. He establishes a poetics of vision through Venus with her celestial beauty that brings perfection and a poetry of the eye to portray the physical body (Absāl) as lustful and condemnable.
  2. Claudia Yaghoobi, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    In this presentation, in addition to excerpts from Jami’s Yusuf and Zulaikha, I will examine a few paintings, tile works, and carpets, telling the story of the same scene where putting Yusuf on display, Zulaikha makes Yusuf become the object of the Egyptian women’s gaze and desire, thus reversing the typical male gaze to a female one, and the disruption of the familiar female-passive and male-active gender roles. Given that Yusuf was a prophet, the visual observation of him was to lead to the contemplation of the divine. 
  3. Domenico Ingenito, UCLA
    This paper addresses the question of the relationship between erotic love and the metaphysics of the “unseen” in medieval Persian poetry from the perspective of Avicenna’s philosophical tradition. I will focus in particular on the lyric poems of Sa‘di of Shiraz (fl. XIII century) and their depiction of the beloved as an eroticized cypher of the divine.
Session Cancelled: