The second W M Watt lecture in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies - Charisma and Anti-Charisma in al-Andalus will be given by Professor Maribel Fierro, Research Professor at the Centre of Human and Social Sciences at the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Spain.
Relations between scholars and rulers were of fundamental importance in competing claims to religious and political authority in Islamic premodern societies. Sunni Islam as against Shii Islam has historically been suspicious of charisma—that is, the belief that God has appointed one particular person who is protected by God and given right belief. Islamic Spain (al-Andalus) is a territory usually identified with Sunni (Maliki) Islam and characterized by a strong network of Sunni (Maliki) scholars. However, charisma was used to support political and religious claims, while one of the region’s most productive and original thinkers, Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), was very outspoken in his rejection of charismatic authority and also of Malikism.
Professor Maribel Fierro is Research Professor at the Centre of Human and Social Sciences at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), in Spain. She is a leading authority on the religious and intellectual history of Islamic Spain and the Islamic West, and on Islamic law. She is the editor of volume 2 of The New Cambridge History of Islam, The Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries (Oxford, 2010) and recently led an ERC project on Knowledge, Heresy and Political Culture in the Islamic West, during which she published The Almohad Revolution: Religion and Politics in the Islamic West (Ashgate, 2012).
The lecture will be followed by questions and a reception.
This William Montgomery Watt Lecture is organised and sponsored by the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies with additional support from the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.