‘Conceptions of Justice in the 1001 Nights’

If you missed the Zoom event last month, you can watch Enass Khansa on YouTube, talking about “Conceptions of Justice in the 1001 Nights”:

In the talk and subsequent discussion, Khansa —  an Assistant Professor in the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at the American University of Beirut and Editor at the Library of Arabic Literature — focuses in on three sequences of stories: The Two Kings, The Merchant and the Djinni, and the Fisherman and the Ifreet, and how these story sequences illuminate ideas of justice.

As Khansa notes in the beginning, she makes three central arguments: “First, that Alf Layla adopts an attitude that advocates for multiplicity over singular interpretation, in a fashion that confirms the contingency of ethical questions; second, that Alf Layla equates poor rulership with a failure of interpretation, and locates the solution to both in a communal framework; and lastly, that Alf Layla, in theme, presentation, and designation, subscribes to Arab-Islamic styles of knowledge production.”

Before moving into her talk, she adds: “We do not bring medieval works to light, when we read them, we are creating them anew with every interpretation. So today, my reading is one of many.”

Watch the talk: