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Before the Arab Revolutions: Art, Dissent, and Diplomacy in Amman, Beirut, and Ramallah. Lecture by Hanan Toukan
April 3 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Please Join Us on Monday April 3rd at 6:30 PM in Olin 102For a talk about the relationship between contemporary art, dissent, cultural diplomacy and cultural politics in the Arab Middle East by Hanan Toukan Professor at Brown University.
Since the start of the Arab revolutionary process and the violence that has accompanied it, the culture and arts domain has come to play an ever more crucial role as mobilizer, witness, and archivist of historical events. As a result the domain has enjoyed an exponential growth in the technical and financial support it receives from US and EU funding bodies. This growth has provoked intense debates within policy circles and a plethora of academic literature on what the role of visual and cultural practices are and should be in violent warfare, political change, and the study of politics and culture in the region.
This talk will historicize and contextualize this phenomenon as its focus predates 2011 and grapples with it from its first appearance in the 1990s and until its consolidation in the aftermath of 9/11. Specifically the talk examines the ways in which transnational circuits of visual cultural production are related to how society makes, sees and experiences the political in art and its relevance to the wider publics in Jordan, Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I address prevalent debates about the nature of the political in art as well as the role of art and the intellectual in political change. It shows that both are part and parcel of shifting structural dynamics in local and international politics that directly impact the production of culture and how different generations practice them, perceive them and process them. Hence this talk is not is not so much about “art”, as much as it is about the “artworld” from a local perspective, and how culture in it is produced in a global world. It is equally about some of the centers of power that fund and disseminate visual knowledge about the Middle East.
Hanan Toukan is Visiting Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Middle East Studies at Brown University. She was a EUME postdoctoral Fellow in Berlin in 2012-2013 and a Kenyon Institute Visiting Scholar in East Jerusalem in 2012. Toukan completed her award winning PhD at SOAS in 2012 and she is currently working on her book manuscript “Starting the Revolution from a Different Place: Art, Dissent and Cultural Diplomacy in the Arab World”. Toukan’s scholarly writings have appeared in Arab Studies Journal, Cultural Politics, Journal for Palestine Studies, Review of Middle East Studies, Jerusalem Quarterly, SCTIW Review, Jadaliyya and Ibraaz amongst others.
This event is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Project and the Art History program