Cornell University

This is a past event. Its details are archived for historical purposes.

The contact information may no longer be valid.

Please visit our current events listings to look for similar events by title, location, or venue.

“Iranian Pilgrims in Traffic: Historicity and Sociality of Saint Visitation Across Borders,” by Emrah Yildiz, CMS Seminar Series

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 3:00pm to 4:15pm

Virtual Event

This talk follows the pathways of a ziyarat (saint visitation) route, also known as Hajj-e Fuqara’ (pilgrimage of the poor) from bus stations in Iran through a bazaar in Gaziantep, Turkey to the Sayyida Zainab shrine near Damascus, Syria. Often referred to as Hajj-e Fuqara’ (pilgrimage of the poor) in Iran, this route has shuttled Iranian pilgrims as well as contraband goods such as oil, sugar and tobacco, across the three countries since the 1979 Revolution in Iran. This talk departs from the premise that Hajj-e Fuqara’ can be productively understood as a region-making route. In its pathways of this route, I trace the inter-articulations of saint visitation (ziyarat) with contraband commerce circuits (tejarat). In contrast to those who see in Islamic ritual the pre-determined stage for ethical cultivation and self-making pedagogy, in Iranian Pilgrims in Traffic, ritual emerges as a traffic built out of multiple cycles of religious, political and economic exchange. As a historical anthropology of this emergence, the project re-centers ritual in the anthropology of Islam as a generative dimension of social action and spatial production on a regional scale. On shifting political terrain through which buses of the Hajj-e Fuqara’ route moved, ziyarat and tejarat routes intersected in a traffic itself conditioned by differential mobility across borders. When studied ethnographically and historically that traffic—spun by pilgrims from Iran, Antep bazaar merchants, contraband couriers and Damascene shrine heirs over four decades—is a productive diagnostic of the uneven historicity and sociality of ziyarat as an Islamic ritual.

Dial-In Information

Registration is required for this virtual event

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type



Near Eastern Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Anthropology, History, Government, Comparative Muslim Societies Program



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Eric Tagliacozzo, Program Director

Contact Phone



Emrah Yildiz, Assistant Professor, Crown Junior Chair in Middle East Studies

Speaker Affiliation

Anthropology Department, Northwestern University

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

Please contact us with your accessibility needs as soon as possible.

Open To

Free and open to the public

Recent Activity