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Workshop: Animals, Adab, and Fictivity (Matthew L. Keegan; Beatrice Gründler)

May 09, 2019 - May 10, 2019
Animals and Adab, Berlin May 2019_programme

Animals and Adab, Berlin May 2019_programme
Image Credit: CeDiS, Layout & Design: Nadia El-Obaidi

Medieval Arabic literature (adab) is full of animals. The most famous example is Kalila wa-Dimna, a collection of stories about talking animals and humans. This text is usually described as "fables" or as a Mirror for Princes (Fürstenspiegel). However, the rich diversity of animal stories beyond Kalila wa-Dimna and the role these animal stories play in the broader adab tradition are not well understood. Participants in this workshop explore the various ways in which medieval authors and readers put animals to work in adab and related discourses, as the site of theological debate, as a vehicle for allegory, and as a way of thinking about poetics and fictionality. These diverse traditions of animal writing influenced, in turn, how readers interpreted Kalila wa-Dimna over the centuries. Some readers interpreted it as a work on politics, while other readers viewed it as a repository of proverbial wisdom, as a mystical treatise, or as a picaresque narrative. This workshop shows how animals were not sequestered into one genre or mode of writing but roamed across disciplinary boundaries as part of a dynamic culture of imagination, inquiry, and writing.

Workshop Program 

DAY 1 ——— May 9th 

9:00 - 9:15 Coffee 

9:15 - 9:30 Welcoming Remarks 

Beatrice Gruendler 

9:30 - 9:45 AnonymClassic Web Platform Demonstration 

Mahmoud Kozae 

9:45 - 10:00 Introduction to the Workshop 

Matthew L. Keegan 

10:00 - 11:00 Johannes Stephan 

What is Fictionality in Arabic before Fiction? 

Discussant: Isabel Toral 

11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break 

11:30 - 12:30 Ali-Adnan Sakr 

Avicenna on Fiction, or Why Kalīla wa-Dimna Is Not Poetry 

Discussant: Beatrice Gruendler 

12:30 - 13:30 Ignacio Sánchez 

Giving Voice to the Beasts: the Ikhwan al-Ṣafāʾ and the Pragmatics of Fabulation 

Discussant: Regula Forster 

13:30 - 15:30 Lunch Break 

15:30 - 16:30 Jeannie Miller 

al-Jāḥiẓ's Animals 

Discussant: Geert Jan van Gelder 

16:30 - 17:30 Guy Ron-Gilboa 

"Das Ṭāʾir, das es nicht gibt": ʿAnqāʾ Muġrib and the Poetics of Imaginary Beings 

Discussant: Theodore S. Beers 

17:30 - 18:00 Tea

The Kalīla and Dimna ‒ AnonymClassic project hosted at Freie Universität Berlin has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 742 635. 

DAY 2 ——— May 10th 

9:15 - 9:30 Coffee 

9:30 - 10:30 Francesca Bellino 

Combining adab with Political Literature and Fluctuating between History and Fictivity in Advising the Ruler: Ibn Ẓafar’s Sulwān al-muṭā‘ 

Discussant: Ignacio Sánchez 

10:30 - 11:00 Coffee 

11:00 - 12:00 Matthew L. Keegan 

"Its Meaning Lies Elsewhere": A Meditation on Kalīla wa-Dimna’s Reception 

Discussant: Johannes Stephan 

12:00 - 13:00 Khouloud Khalfallah 

How to Read Kalīla wa-Dimna through Multi-Text Manuscripts 

Discussant: Olly Akkerman 

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch 

14:00 - 15:00 Kevin Blankinship 

al-Maʿarrī’s Anxious Menagerie: The Epistle of the Horse and the Mule 

Discussant: Francesca Bellino 

15:00 - 16:00 Geert Jan van Gelder 

In the Time of al-Fiṭaḥl when Stones Were still Moist and All Things Spoke: Very short Arabic animal fables and just-so stories 

Discussant: Guy Ron-Gilboa 

16:00 - 16:30 Coffee 

16:30 - 17:30 Plenary Discussion & Concluding Remarks 

19:00 Conference Dinner for participants

Time & Location

May 09, 2019 - May 10, 2019