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Conceptualizing Compassion in Communication for Communication

Emotional Experience in Islamic Sermons (Bengali waʿz mahfils)

Max Stille

This article argues that conceptual change can be brought about and shaped by communication practice by approaching emotional experience in a particular strand of Islamic sermons from contemporary Bangladesh. It utilizes an extended rhetorical analysis, pertaining to the intertwining of concepts to be communicated, concepts of communication, and performance patterns of the sermons. It argues that by the juncture of narrative techniques of immediacy and momentarization with a bodily grounding of the voice, the listeners and preacher jointly reach the self-affection of the bodily and salvific emotions of (com)passion. From this perspective, the role of rhetorical practice is not limited to an ex post facto translation of conceptual change into practice; instead, the rhetorical goal of self-affection turns out to be an active factor in shaping concepts decisive for contemporary Islamic religiosity.

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Max Stille

This review article provides an overview of important, recent approaches to conceptual history from scholarship on South Asia. While conceptual history is not a consolidated field in South Asia, the colonial encounter has greatly stimulated interest in conceptual inquiries. Recent scholarship questions the uniformity even of well-researched concepts such as liberalism. It is methodologically innovative in thinking about the influence of economic structures for the development of concepts. Rethinking religious and secular languages, scholars have furthermore stressed the importance of smaller communicative units such as genre or hermeneutical practices to shape ideas e.g. of the political. As part of global and imperial formations, scholars are well aware of the link between power and colonial temporalities. Lastly, they have suggested new sources for conceptual history, such as literature, film, and sound.