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Shahzad Bashir | The Genealogical Prison: Kinship as a Historical Problem

By: | posted on: Jan 29, 2020

Date(s) - 01/29/2020
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

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Widener Auditorium Penn Museum


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How are history and notions of family intertwined aspects of human social imagination?

About this Event

Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities, Brown University

In conversation with Jamal Elias, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

The Genealogical Prison: Kinship as a Historical Problem

Our notions of premodern history are often the result of applying the principle of lineage to literary sources. Information about the past is made to fit the gridlines of ruling dynasties, social elites, and inheritors of religious authority and charisma. Yet how can we use familial rhetoric, which can project both intimacy and conflict, as a historical resource, without being seduced by its seeming inherent logic? Drawing on Persian literature produced in South Asia around 1550–1800 CE, Professor Bashir treats kinship as “valorized temporality.” Penn Professor Jamal Elias, who has written and lectured widely on Islamic intellectual history and culture, joins Bashir in conversation to consider how history and the family are intertwined aspects of human social imagination.

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Free and open to the public. ASL interpretation will be provided. If you have any accessibility questions or concerns, please email us. More information:

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