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4pm Visual and Literary Encounters in the Middle East

October 11, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Visual and Literary Encounters in the Middle East: Between Production and Distortion of Knowledge

This reading group will examine the representation of the Middle East from the early modern period up to the contemporary era. The focus is on the critical junctures during which global encounters gained new impetus through diverse media. Each meeting will center on a cultural practice that became a vehicle for the circulation and transformation of ideas, cultures, peoples, and artifacts beyond borders or at contact zones. The focus will be less on the historical techniques of representation than on how cross-cultural interactions at the intersection of visual/bodily, as well as literary/imaginary experiences, produce, erase, distort, or transform knowledge of places— understood not as an empty phenomenon, but as lived spaces for human action. The outline of the reading group is general enough to allow participation by non-experts, who are interested in thinking about the current trends in the representation and dissemination of the image of the Middle East through new social media, with a historical awareness. There might be suggested primary materials related to images, narratives, films, and exhibitions accompanying main readings.

The sources are available online though McGill library. For more information contact Dr. Gül Kale gul.kale@mail.mcgill.ca

October 11/Week 3–Displaying and Classifying in Museums

Wendy Shaw, “Museums and Narratives of Display from the Late Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic,” Muqarnas 24 (2007): 253–279.

Mercedes Volait, “History or Theory? French Antiquarianism, Cairene Architecture and Enlightenment Thinking,” Ars Orientalis 39 (2010): 231-54.

*Wendy Shaw, “Antiquities Collections in the Imperial Museum,” in Possessors and Possessed: Museums, Archaeology, and the Visualization of History in the late Ottoman Empire (Berkeley: University of California, 2003), 1–24.


October 11, 2016
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


3610 McTavish, 2nd floor
Montreal,QuebecH3A 1Y2Canada
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