Holy Places in medieval Islam : functions, typologies and narratives

International conference, University of Edinburgh

2-4 September 2014

From the emergence of Islam, Muslim societies were confronted with the notion of the holiness of specific sites. They developed different positions on this issue, which ranged from adopting specific sites to dismissing or destroying them. In addition, several new Islamic holy sites emerged.

The International Network for the Study of Holy Places in Islam (INSHPI) aims to investigate the modalities that led to the formation and development of different positions with regard to holy places in various Muslim societies. In order to analyse these processes the project seeks to integrate both material culture and literary texts.

The second conference of the network, Holy Places in Medieval Islam: Functions, Typologies and Narratives, will bring together international scholars from various disciplines who will focus on topics such as: the narratives created in order to sanctify a specific territory or city; the role of holy men in the transformation of the sacred landscape; the functioning and visualization of networks of holy sites; the emergence of architectural typologies as well as rituals in order to honour holy places; relics; and the instrumental use of early Islamic history in order to promote a specific political figure or geographical area.