2019 Sabbagh Lecture: Charles Hirschkind, “Flamenco and the Rediscovery of Islamic Spain”


Feb 21 2019 - 7:00pm

Professor Charles Hirschkind will give this year's 27th Annual Sabbagh lecture, “Flamenco and the Rediscovery of Islamic Spain.” Hirschkind’s lecture is Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Marriott University Park, at 880 East 2nd Street.

Both the lecture and the reception that follows are free and open to the public.

Charles Hirschkind is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Hirschkind, who earned his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University, researches religious practice, media technologies, and emergent forms of political community in the urban Middle East and Europe. His current project is based in southern Spain and explores some of the different ways in which Europe’s Islamic past inhabits its present, unsettling contemporary efforts to secure Europe’s Christian civilizational identity. Professor Hirschkind is the author of The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics and co-editor of Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and his Interlocutors. He has published extensively on religion, politics, and history in the Middle East and Europe.

About the Lecture

In Flamenco, proponents of this movement found a musical form imbued with the experience of the Moors, forced into exile from their Iberian home in the 17th century, a music therefore with both Arabic and Spanish roots. Seeking to reclaim a history of cross-Mediterranean kinship that had been erased, first by the Spanish Inquisition, and then by a nationalist historiography, the Andalucistas came to see this musical form as a receptacle of buried memory.

In their writings, the pioneering figures of this movement, including Gil Benumeya and the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, returned again and again to this music, tracing out each line and curve of its emotional geometry. These lines and curves invariably led to the south and east, to the Arabs, Jews, and Gypsies whose historical experience on Iberian soil resonated in the cry of the Flamenco singer and the strum of the guitar. Through an exploration of this tradition of historical reflection on Spain’s entwinement with the Middle East, Hirschkind hopes to contribute to a discussion on the place of aesthetic, and particularly musical, sensibilities in shaping our relation to the past.

The School of Anthropology is very pleased to present this series of distinguished speakers in the Sabbagh Lectures. The lectures focus on the Arab cultures of the Middle East from an anthropological perspective. Through the generosity of Drs. Entisar and Adib Sabbagh, an expert in Arab cultures is brought to campus each year. The guest speaker participates in one public lecture and a master seminar for graduate students.

Dr. Entisar (Vivi) Sabbagh is a Ph.D. graduate of the UA School of Anthropology, and Dr. Adib Sabbagh is a Tucson cardiac surgeon. The Sabbaghs are sponsoring these lectures to enhance public understanding and appreciation for the complexity and diversity of Arab cultures. The lectures also serve to enrich the curriculum of the School of Anthropology by bringing to it the expertise of eminent scholars.

Event Location:
Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 East 2nd Street

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 7:00pm

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