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Página actualizada a 29-06-2020
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SQUARING ALWAYS THE CIRCLE: MEDIEVAL ARABIC DIAGRAMS, THEIR REPRESENTATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS


SQUARING ALWAYS THE CIRCLE: MEDIEVAL ARABIC DIAGRAMS, THEIR REPRESENTATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS


Speaker: Michel Kabalan (IF-FLUP)
2nd July 2020
16h (Porto time, Portugal)


Abstract


It is well known that Arabic medieval manuscripts are abound with several types of diagrammatic representations and complexities. Be it in the natural sciences, astronomy, algebra and last but not least philosophy, Arabic medieval manuscripts often include and for the purpose of clarity shorthand annotated diagrams and/or marginal diagrams inserted by the manuscripts' copyists themselves at some point during the transmission process. In addition, these diagrams frequently cover one to two pages when a larger complex representation or diagram is needed. Rarely considered except for their aesthetic value, these diagrammatic representations often chronicle the signs and the traces of the passage from a mere textual conceptualisation to a more complex yet condensed graphic conceptualisation. In this paper, I shall study several examples of these unique diagrammatic representations. I will mostly highlight two to three diagrams drawn respectively from a political, theological and scientific Arabic Medieval treaty. Towards the end, I will try to show how these complex diagrammatic representations are echoing a gradually shifting visual dynamic, from the textual to the representational, within the history of Arabic and Islamic philosophy.


Bibliography


Even Ezra, A., «Visualizing Narrative Structure in the Medieval University: divisio textus Revisited» Traditio (72), 341-376 (2017).

Johnson, J. C. & Stavru, A. (eds.), Visualizing the invisible with the human body: Physiognomy and ekphrasis in the ancient world, Berlin, De Gruyter (Science, Technology,and Medicine in Ancient Cultures 10) (2019).


Text

Squaring always the circle: Medieval Arabic Diagrams, their representations and implications (paper draft)


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