Author Archives: ricerca

Invisible Lines Invisible Lines is an international project on comics, graphic novels and illustrations developed by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, (Italy – coordinator); Central Vapeur, (France); Hamelin Associazione Culturale (Italy); Baobab&Gplusg s.r.o. (Czech Republic); and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. In accordance with the objective of the Programme, this project aims to circulate ideas and artworks, to develop new opportunities for young artists and to enhance the internationalization of the creative sector of illustrations and comics. […]

Esoteric Transfers and Constructions. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Mark Sedgwick and Francesco Piraino London, Palgrave “Esoteric Transfers and Constructions is an important and original volume that brings together an impressive cast of scholars around a critical theme in the study of Western esotericism: namely, the critical links between Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mystical traditions. This volume should be of tremendous interest to anyone working in the areas of Western esotericism, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticism, and the history of religions more generally.” (Hugh B. Urban, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Ohio State University, […]

Photographic Exhibition Sufis: A Look at the Mystics of Contemporary Islam

Sufis: A Look at the Mystics of Contemporary Islam (vernissage) vrijdag 25 oktober 2019 - 17:00 TOKO, Statiestraat 139, Berchem Kif Kif, TOKO and the Arabic Studies department of the KULeuven present the beautiful photographs of Francesco Piraino. The aim of this exhibition is to show different facets of contemporary Sufism as a religious, cultural and human mosaic. You will (almost) not see a whirling dervish, but you will see the dhikr, the invocation and remembrance of the “most beautiful” [...]

A Sufi, a Map, and the Crafty Serenissima

Global Sufism Book Cover ©HURST     I’m thrilled to present to you the book Global Sufism: Boundaries, Structures, and Politics that I co-edited with Prof. Mark Sedgwick. I’m particularly proud because in this book we discuss a range of quite different topics, such as rap, literature, international politics, Sufi doctrines, etc., and because this book possesses a good balance between young and confirmed scholars. Furthermore, this book is based on the first event that I organized at the Cini Foundation  [...]

Some Preliminary Thoughts with Pictures on Sufi Festivals

  Sufi festivals are mushrooming, influencing how Sufism is perceived both inside and outside Islamic communities. Some of them are financed by national states, others are independent, some express Islamic and Sufi orthodoxy, others represent a universal and de-Islamised knowledge. Hence, it is difficult to generalise about possible common trends. What is certain is that there is a lack of research on this subject. The most important festivals are: – Festival de la Culture Soufie in Fez (Morocco) – […]

A Short Algerian reportage: Sufis of Temacine

These pictures depict the story of my trip to Temacine (Algeria), a small town and oasis facing the Sahara, in the South-East of the country. In January 2018, I spent 10 days with the Tijaniyya Sufi order, which is among the most important orders in the world, especially influential in Maghreb and West Africa. The founder of the Sufi order, Abu al-ʿAbbās Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tijānī (1735–1815), is considered by his disciples a saint of his time. His legacy is [...]

Mamma Schiavona

Mamma Schiavona Mamma Schiavona, literally ‘‘Mother Slave,’’ is an icon of the Virgin Mary situated in the sanctuary of Montevergine, near Avellino in the southern Italy. Mamma Schiavona is celebrated on 12 September—the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary—and on 2 February—Candlemas, the presentation of Jesus at the Temple—with the iuta , that is, the climb to the sanctuary. Mary of Montevergine, who is a black Madonna, is called Mamma Schiavona by believers; unfortunately, it does not seem to be possible to retrace the etymology [...]

A workshop dedicated to the Arabic-Islamic calligraphy

A workshop dedicated to the Arabic-Islamic calligraphy On March 9th I, together with Prof. Ida Zilio Grandi of Ca’ Foscari University, organised a workshop dedicated to the Arabic-Islamic calligraphy. The following invited speakers introduced the topic to the audience: prof. Andrea Brigaglia (Cape Town University, South Africa), Prof. Michele Petrone (Copenhagen University, Denmark), Prof. Aymon Kreil (Ghent University, Belgium) and Prof. Paolo Urizzi (Perennia Verba). The workshop involving a numerous audience has been led by the Moroccan artist Sadik Haddari. [...]

Sufism and Politics in Contemporary Societies: Ethics and Democracy

The Sufi renewal of the 21st century, in particular in Europe and the Maghreb, is characterised by charismatic Sufi Masters, considered as “living saints”, such as Shaykh Nazim (Naqshbandiyya), Shaykh Hamza (Būdshīshiyya), Muzafer Ozak (Jerrahiyya-Khalwatiyya) and Shaykh Bentounes (ʿAlāwiyya). These Sufi Masters were capable of attracting new disciples from different cultures, ethnicities, social classes, and backgrounds, and gathered thousands of disciples. Finally, this renewed Sufism has started to play an important role in the public sphere. A specific theology does […]