Jason Keith Fernandes will present a paper entitled, “As Glórias Desconhecidas do Imam: O Silêncio, a Ausência e o Islamicate na Índia da Colecção Kwok On” (The Unsung Glories of the Imam: Silence, Absence, and the Islamicate in the Kwok On Collection’s Indian section) at 18:30 on 19 April, 2017 at the Museu Oriente, Lisbon.
The “India Visual” cycle is a collaborative effort between the Museu Oriente and CRIA – the Network Centre of Research in Anthropology. This cycle, that include conferences, round tables, and screenings of films and documentaries with the presence of researchers, academics and other persons linked to India and the many dimensions of this visual culture seeks to use visual culture in India as the point of departure for reflections on diverse themes: art, religion, politics, consumption, gender, advertising, and media among others.
Drawing on various Indian pieces in the Kwok On collection, this presentation will suggest that what often appears Hindu is in fact profoundly Islamicate in nature. The term ‘Islamicate’ was introduced in 1974 by the famed scholar of Islamic studies Marshal Hodgson in his book The Venture of Islam. In this work he suggests that ‘Islamicate’ would refer not directly to the religion, Islam, itself, but to the social and cultural complex historically associated with Islam and the Muslims, both among Muslims themselves and even when found among non-Muslims. Drawing on this idea, the presentation will demonstrate the manner in which practices associated with the Shia faith, and the historic figure of Imam Hussein are central to much South Asian (Indian), culture. Recognising this fact complicates and challenges the way in which both individuals and institutions – such as museums – understand the subcontinent.