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Text as a Spatial Performance: Keynote Speech by Dana Sajdi for the CEMS Graduate Conference on Materiality in the Eastern Mediterranean World

Friday, May 28, 2021, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

*This is a keynote lecture for the CEMS online graduate conference on Materiality in the Eastern Mediterranean World.


While recent scholarship on materiality has produced new queries in book history and exciting revaluations of the meanings of text, it has yet to consider the text as a production in space.  In considering places in and around the text, we would be able to bring out the material, the sonic, and the corporeal to construct clearer images of past social practice and reality. 

Dana Sajdi (Ph.D., Columbia University 2002) is Associate Professor of History at Boston College. She is the author of The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant (2013, Turkish and Arabic translations in 2018); editor of Ottoman Tulips, Ottoman Coffee: Leisure and Lifestyle in the Eighteenth Century (2008, in Turkish 2014) and coeditor of Transforming Loss into Beauty: Essays in Arabic Literature and Culture in Memory of Madga Al-Nowaihi (2008).  She is the recipient of several fellowships including from Princeton University, Wissenschfatskolleg zu Berlin (EUME); Research Center for Anatolian Civilization; MIT-Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture; and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is working on history of Damascus based on a local tradition of textual representations of the city between 12th-20th centuries.

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