Forgive Us Our Trespasses: Party Crashing in Eleventh-Century Mesopotamia

January 25, 2018 -
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Samer Ali, University of Michigan

Join us in a public lecture by Samer Ali, University of Michigan. In the 11th century, the scholar al-Khatib al-Baghdadi wrote The Book of Party-Crashing (Kitab al-Tatfil). On the surface, the work pokes fun at party-crashers and the nervous hosts who must manage these unexpected guests and, in so doing, he reveals the Achilles heel of hospitality culture in his homeland, Iraq. At a metaphorical level, however, the work recognizes the challenges and annoyances of party-crashers, but explores the timeless virtues (and pleasures) of generosity toward strangers and tolerance under strain. al-Baghdadi illustrates how generosity and tolerance are meaningless unless put to the test.

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