Open Sounds, Hidden Spaces: Listening, Wandering, and Spatial Formation in Sufi Iran by Seema Golestaneh


Location: Lahore Museum, Mall Road

As public gatherings in Iran remain difficult to organize, Sufi Orders have sought methods of convening that comply with city regulations. One Sufi group in the city of Isfahan does so by meeting in homes and rotating locations. Rather than circulate the specific address of a meeting place, however, the mystics instruct the others to meet at a residential intersection, and then broadcast music from a house to alert the members to the exact location. This in turn allows them to locate the site by listening for and ultimately “following” the sounds. It is in this way that the Sufis utilize the mystical ideals of listening (sama) and wandering (sargardan) to navigate the politics of Iranian urban space.

The complete talk can be accessed on LBF’s YouTube channel by clicking on the link provided here.

Seema Golestaneh is assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. She specializes in the anthropology of Islam, contemporary Sufi and Shi’i thought, aesthetics and mediation, and literary cultures.

Seema Golestaneh, Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University.