Bard Graduate Center Logo Why Come to Hear Natalia Di Pietrantonio?

Natalia Di Pietrantonio has been appointed Bard Graduate Center’s 2019-21 Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Art and Material Culture. She will be at BGC on Monday, April 29, and will give an informal talk on her work at 12:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “Sex in Islamic Art: The Case of Wajid ‘Ali Shah.”

This talk examines the ‘Ishqnama manuscript, written by the last Avadhi ruler, Wajid ‘Ali Shah, in 1849. Containing 131 short stories and 103 accompanying miniatures, the ‘Ishqnama opens with Wajid ‘Ali Shah’s first love affair, which he commences at the age of eight. Historians and litterateurs, both past and present, have decontextualized these sexual passages; and therefore they saw and read the ‘Ishqnama as merely signifying sexual decadence and as a truthful sexual biography. And yet, a close visual and textual analysis of the ‘Ishqnama manuscript in its entirety reveals a more complex work that employs these erotic and textual devices to promote Wajid ‘Ali Shah’s political legitimacy. By re-suturing image and text, pleasure can be read as productive, such that Wajid ‘Ali Shah’s efforts created an “ishq” philosophy, one that places affective relations within a specific literary and political history.

This talk will take place in the Seminar Room at 38 West 86th Street and is open to the BGC community. Please RSVP to