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The Iranian MetaphysicalsExplorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny$
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Alireza Doostdar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.001.0001

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Rammali Refashioned

Rammali Refashioned

(p.93) 10 Rammali Refashioned
The Iranian Metaphysicals

Alireza Doostdar

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines another path for confronting the rammal's uncanniness, one that strives to sublimate it under the sign of science. It also analyzes some of the contours of this scientized orientation toward the metaphysical and how it may be combined with the playfulness that the indeterminacy of the occult enables. The chapter focuses on a young woman named Mersedeh, and how she fashioned a professional persona as a rammal—or a prayer writer, as she preferred to call herself—by appropriating the knowledge and power of those she deemed “traditional” rammals and at the same time distancing herself from them. More specifically, it considers five aspects of Mersedeh's self-fashioning: her aesthetics of self-presentation, what she thought of the scientific basis of sorcery, her relationship to Islam, the therapeutic ecology within which she placed her practice, and her avowed skepticism about the usefulness of sorcery.

Keywords:   rammal, science, metaphysical, playfulness, occult, self-presentation, sorcery, Islam, therapeutic ecology, skepticism

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