The Confederation of Multidisciplinary Automaton Scholars 1997 Conference
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Strand A: History and Culture
9:15 - 10:00 a.m.
L.J. Osberg (National Library of Argentina)
Abstract: Suppose that among the Jews who fled Spain for Morocco during the Inquisition, belief in Golems, the artificial-supernatural lifeforms of medieval Jewish folklore, was especially strong; suppose that those beliefs synchronized all-too-neatly with North African Berber-Arab magical traditions of the djinn (spirits who assume human or animal form), mind-altering hashish, and stoned-out paisley-looking architecture; suppose further that Rosellini visited the imperial city of Fez in the late 1720s and, wandering along the Rue de Merinides in the Mellah (Jewish quarter), encountered a Rabbi eye-dueling with a Fqih (Islamic religious teacher); finally, suppose that the two elders, noticing Rosellini's attention, joined hands and wordlessly led him from the cafe through a labyrinthine maze of tiny streets to the inner sanctum of a secret house in the Medina (old town) full of columns and tiles and fountains and cushions, where servants of every description — from every corner of the world and every species, all moving as though in hypnotic trances — washed him, served him mint tea, and fed him a sumptuous feast of lamb and cous-cous and pigeon pie. Were the servants Golems or Djinni? Or was the Fqih a Golem, the Rabbi a Djinn, Rosellini a servant of the supernatural? How much of this narrative can be substantiated from a previously-unknown archive at Fez's ancient Qaraouyine Mosque and University? Was Rosellini's alleged anti-Semitism an elaborate fiction contrived by 20th-century European scholars (who subsequently fled to South America) in order to bury this historical digression and the magical-mystical shift Rosellini's work took upon his return to Italy?
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Cousteau Memorial Terrace
Refreshments sponsored by Microsoft Network and Hormel Foods