Lecture by Dr. Sara Mondini, Humanities Academy. Gent University
The Mosques of Kerala: a new project on identity-building of Muslim communities in Southern India
This lecture aims to discuss the premises and preliminary results of an ongoing project on the mosques on the Malabar coast of India in the period that ranges from the initial spread of Islam in this region to the late 19th century. The research promises to be extremely innovative since the production in question has been generally neglected by studies and only some of these structures have been published. From a scholarly perspective, these mosques are of great interest for a variety of reasons: some of them are among the oldest mosques in India; their construction would appear to be connected to the first communities of merchants settled in the region and generally they display a unique style borrowed from other Muslim regions and fused with elements drawn from local vernacular and temple architecture. This project aims at having an impact on our knowledge of both art-historical scenarios, in the region and in the Islamic world, and socio-religious scenarios, enabling us to understand patronage patterns, socio-cultural dynamics and exchanges across the Indian Ocean.