Much can be learned from a culture and its belief systems from funerary rituals, burial locations, grave inscriptions, and associated material objects. Additionally, the existence of retail industries at the cemetery locations, taking advantage of pilgrim visitations and selling an array of both religious and non-religious products, reveal dynamic and evolving aspects of the culture. It is against this background that this session offers an array of Shii-related thematic subjects.
“A Death Never-ending: Theoretical Reflections on the Ritualized Recurrence of Imam Husain’s Becoming and Death in Shiʿism,” discusses memorials as an annually celebrated ritual.
“Sex and the Cemetery: Iranian Pilgrims, Shrine Visitation, and Consumer Piety in Damascus,” discusses how visitations to the cemetery of the Prophet’s wives' graves in Damascus are promoting an unusual economic activity in the form of retail businesses located directly adjacent to the cemetery.
“The Reviving of Muharram Processions in Mumbai, an Iranian Initiative” was added to the panel by the organizers of the conference.