Tobunken-Seminar "Whores, Housewives and Heavenly Bodies: Medieval Persian Sufi Women"

Speaker: Dr. Lloyd Ridgeon (Reader in Islamic Studies, University of Glasgow)

Title: Whores, Housewives and Heavenly Bodies: Medieval Persian Sufi Women

Date: April 16, 2015 (Thursday) at 18:00-19:30

Venue: Room 304, 3rd floor, >Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (Tobunken), the University of Tokyo

It is often the case that women in the medieval Islamic world are described by the complementarity and segregation paradigm. This presentation assesses whether or not this can also be applied to the case of Sufism, which is often regarded as all-encompassing and open. A range of material will be surveyed, including biographies (tabaqat) from the 10th century onwards; miscellaneous writings such as hagiographies, mirrors for princes and poetry; and subsequently there will be a discussion of the writings of the "big Sufis", such as Rumi and Ibn \'Arabi who posited as idealised feminine as a manifestation of the divine. The paper tries to assess the social reality for women wishing to be Sufis, and seeks to understand why there is only one female writer from the period after Rabia until the 13rh century.

The lecture will be in English. Open to public and no registration required.

Contact person: Kazuo Morimoto, morikazu[at]