Academic/Museums, Astrolabe research

Rumi and Astrolabes @ the MIA library

I’m excited to announce that the Majlis Book Club of the Museum of Islamic Art library has asked me to lead a discussion of Islamic astrolabes! So if you’re in Qatar and interested, please join me on Wednesday, April 23 at 3pm in the MIA library.

An astrolabe from Isfahan in the MIA collection.
Close-up of an astrolabe from Isfahan in the MIA collection.

It’s not an academic talk; more an interactive exploration of what astrolabes are and some things they stood for in the “period mind” of the pre-modern Islamic world. I’ll be explaining a bit about how they work and how they were perceived in wider society, and delving into some symbolism going on with/in them.

Since it’s an event for a book club, there is some reading to do beforehand: the first six discourses of Rumi’s Fihi Ma Fihi (PDF here). At the very least, read Discourse 2; it’s only 7 pages, and it builds up into an astrolabe metaphor which we’ll be teasing out.

(EDIT: In case the website is unclear, I am only running the Rumi and Astrolabes discussion in the afternoon session. The morning session is reading My Name Is Red.)

2 thoughts on “Rumi and Astrolabes @ the MIA library

    1. I’m just announcing an event I’m leading at the Museum of Islamic Art here in Qatar. The museum’s library has started a book club where all the assigned reading relates to the objects and/or themes of the museum’s collections. And it so happens that the museum has a large collection of Islamic astrolabes – which I happen to study. So I suggested they read part of Rumi’s Fihi Ma Fihi (a 13th century book that mentions astrolabes and delves into some themes that play out in them), and I’ve agreed to come in and supplement the discussion with a talk.

      I hope that helps!

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