Islamic Art and Modernity (AH2121.01)

Razan Francis

The historiography of Islamic art has not been at ease associating Islamic art with modernity. The scarcity of scholarship on the artistic production of Islamic cultures between the end of the eighteenth century and the end of the twentieth century is, in part, due to the collecting practices and acquisition policies of the Western museum; that have not conceived such works as “Islamic,” “authentic,” or “traditional.” This introductory course aims to populate the art-historical vacuum with diverse works of art created in the Islamic world after the eighteenth century. To understand their meaning and context, we will analyze how artists have responded to political and intellectual circumstances (e.g., the colonial and postcolonial experiences, the rise of nation-states, the Cold War). How did the newly founded institutions of fine arts define modernity and conceive the stakes of art in their Islamic or Arab societies? How have artists appropriated, critiqued, or rejected the artistic traditions of Islam in their work? How do artists engage with the artistic theories and movements of the West? As we examine Islamic art collections and strategies of display in the East and West, we will explore the place of contemporary works in the art market and their gradual integration in today’s museums.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
M 12:10pm - 2:00pm; W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as 2000, All courses, Art History, Four Credit, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, Razan Francis, Updates, Wednesday Afternoons.