James Riggan is a PhD candidate in the history and ethnography of religions at Florida State University. His research focuses on material approaches to Islamic traditions. His current project examines Qur’anic healing in Morocco.


There’s an App for That: The democratization of texts and Qur’anic healing in Morocco

This presentation will offer a materialist approach to Qur’anic healing that is grounded in ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Fez, Morocco. The primary focus is the ways in which text technologies influence the practices of ruqya shar’iyya, a widely practiced method of Qur’anic healing and exorcism that emphasizes an oral recitation of textual sources. Smartphones, as a widely accessible and multisensory medium, are shaping the ways in which Qur’anic healing is practiced in Morocco. Through downloadable applications, messaging services, and access to social networking websites, smartphones shape the contours of how many practitioners learn about, discuss, and participate in the practice of ruqya shar’iyya. Subsequently, smartphones allow participants to use a distinguishing feature of the hegemonic modernity in order to present an alternative modernity centered on scriptural healing practices.

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
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