Despite the recent history of violence and destruction, Bosnia-Herzegovina holds a positive place in history, marked by a continuous interweaving of different religious cultures. The most expansive period in that regard is the Ottoman rule that lasted here nearly five centuries. As many Bosnians accepted Islam, the process of Islamization took on different directions and meanings, only some of which are recorded in the official documents. This book underscores the importance of material culture, specifically gravestones, funerary inscriptions and images, in tracing and understanding more subtle changes in Bosnia’s religious landscape and the complex cultural shifts and exchange between Christianity and Islam in this area. Gravestones are seen as cultural spaces that inscribe memory, history, and heritage in addition to being texts that display, in image and word, first-hand information about the deceased. In tackling these topics and ideas, the study is situated within several contextual, theoretical, and methodological frameworks. Raising questions about religious identity, history, and memory, the study unpacks the cultural and historical value of gravestones and other funerary markers and bolsters their importance in understanding the region’s complexity and improving its visibility in global discussions around multiculturalism and religious pluralism. Drawing upon several disciplinary methods, the book has much to offer anyone looking for a better understanding of the intersection of Christianity and Islam, as well as those with an interest in death studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Constructing authenticity, ensuring continuity: death, dying and commemoration in Bosnian Islam; Remembering the dead and marking the deathscape; Converting the stone: text and image in early Ottoman Bosnia; Islamising memory, framing the community: funerary text in the religious imagination; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
Amila Buturovic is Associate Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at York University, Toronto. Her research interests span the intersections of religion and culture, especially in relation to Islam in the Balkans. She is the author of Stone Speaker: Medieval Tombstones, Landscape, and Bosnian Identity in the Poetry of Mak Dizdar (Palgrave, 2002), and a co-editor, with Irvin C Schick, of Women in the Ottoman Balkans: Gender, Culture and History (I.B. Tauris, 2007).
"This is an excellent and ground-breaking study of Muslim communal headstones in Bosnia-Herzegovina over the past 500 years. (...) Carved in Stone, Etched in Memory is a bold and fascinating book, and serves as an essential guide for a neglected topic. Buturovic writes with great style, flair and enthusiasm on a subject that could easily have been grim, maudlin or simply unattractive. (...) Extensively illustrated with excellent visual images, this book will appeal most to graduate students and anyone with an academic interest in Islam, Bosnia, Ottoman civilization and history, and the memorialization of the dead in general. Buturovic offers a sophisticated analysis of events that can easily be used as a model to study other societies."
- Abdullah Drury, University of Waikato, New Zealand in Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, 2016