The “Southern Questions”: Conference

ARTMargins (http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/artm)
The Department of Fine Arts and Art History, American University of Beirut

Center for Arts and Humanities, Bld. 37
Nov. 3, 10:30am-6pm

image Josh
Image by Joshua Gonsalves

Participants
Karen Benezra (Columbia University), Nadia Bou-Ali (American University of Beirut), Lorenzo Chiesa (Genoa School of Humanities), Joshua D. Gonsalves (American University of Beirut), Angela Harutyunyan (American University of Beirut), Jiang Hongsheng (Peking University), Octavian Esanu (American University of Beirut), Sven Spieker (University of California in Santa Barbara)

The idea of the “South,” not only as a geographical or geopolitical designation, but also as a critical framework for art, has gained traction in recent years. To paraphrase the terms of the most recent Documenta exhibition, what might it mean to historicize the art and artistic networks of the colonial and post-colonial world as neither merely “places on a map” nor “states of mind” but from the point of view of their mutual implication in the concrete societies from which they emerge?

The “Southern Question” in our title alludes to two seemingly incongruous critical frameworks for approaching the potentially political role of art and intellectual production: while one evokes the movement towards political solidarity and economic autonomy uniting the emerging nation-states of the global south as part of the Cold War Non-Aligned Movement, the other takes as its analytical framework the intertwined material and ideological conditions of determinate national social formations. Seeking inspiration in Gramsci’s treatment of the Southern Question it aims to explore the potentials and limitations of the category of class for mass political organization.

Invoking the “Southern Question” is an invitation to consider the usefulness of the “South” as a category for the criticism, theory, and history of art. As hitherto marginalized art and social contexts become the common fare of particularized canons and global art markets, how shall we define the “marginal” in critical-methodological terms? What kinds of critical and artistic work might help us to seize the current moment of the disorganization and re-organization of capitalist hegemony? Bracketing inherited divisions within and between the fields of Marxism and post-colonial studies, we invite participants to help define the critical and methodological questions implied by the term “South.”

 

10:30-11:00am          Opening remarks (Karen Benezra, Angela Harutyunyan and Sven Spieker)

Panel I 11:00-2:00pm

Respondent: Angela Harutyunyan

11:00-12:00               Lecture I: Lorenzo Chiesa, The Southern Question: Gramsci’s Leninist Answer

12:00-12:20               Coffee Break

12:20-12:40pm         Nadia Bou Ali, What is a colonial mode of production? Mehdi Amel’s “Impeded History” and Althusserian Structuralism

12:40- 1:00pm           Joshua Gonsalves, Accelerating Auto-Nomos: Gramsci, the Fiat Occupations and the Aesthetics of Car Design/Art

1:10- 1:20pm             Response

1:20-2:00pm              Discussion

2:00-3:00pm Lunch Break

 

Panel II 3:00-6:00 pm

Respondent: Octavian Esanu

3:00-4:00pm              Lecture II Jiang Hongsheng, The Gramscian Southern Question and the Artistic Representation of Workers and Peasants in the Chinese Communist Movement (1921-1976)

4:00-4:20pm              Coffee break

4:20- 4:40                   Karen Benezra, The Problem of the Indian: Market and Thought

4:40-5:00pm              Sven Spieker, Didactic Art between Postmodernism and the Factory

5:00-5:20pm              Response

5:20 -6:00pm             Discussion

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Jabre Lecture Series: Amanda Beech, March 30

Join us on Thursday, March 30 at 6:00 pm in College Hall, B1 for a public lecture entitled “Decisive Constructions: Art After the Crises of the Image” by Amanda Beech, Dean of Critical Studies at CalArts, which is part of the AUB Art Galleries and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History’s  Jabre Lecture Series in Art History and Curating .

Amanda Beech will be visiting AUB from March 25th-April 7th, 2017, as a URB Visiting Scholar, co-hosted by the Department of Fine Arts and Art History and the Department of Philosophy. 

See the PDF flyer for more details about the Jabre lecture: Beech Poster

Also join us on Friday, March 31 at 5:00-7:00 pm in College Hall, Auditorium B1 for a public screening of Beech’s video works Final Machine, 2013 and Sanity Assassin, 2010, which will be followed by a conversation with Ray Brassier (AUB, Philosophy) and Angela Harutyunyan (AUB, FAAH). Visit the following for more information about this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/680007578872779/

 

Two upcoming Islamic Print Culture Events: Feb 21 + Feb 22

Please join us for two upcoming CAH/FAAH events that deal with Arabic print culture:

Tuesday, Feb 21: Book Discussion: Print Cultures in the 19th Century Islamic World

Time + Location: 5:00-6:30 PM, Building 37 (Center for the Arts + Humanities, AUB)

Discussants: Jan van der Putten (University of Hamburg) + Hala Auji (AUB)

Moderator: Bilal Orfali (AUB)

This event will be a public discussion of Hala Auji’s recent monograph on 19th century Arabic book culture, Printing Arab Modernity: Book Culture and the American Press in 19th Century Beirut (Brill: 2016), which is located in the interstices of art history, book and print culture, and studies of Arab modernity and Ottoman historiographies. Printing Arab Modernity examines the American Protestant mission’s Arabic publications printed in Beirut for Ottoman readers during a period dominated by Islamic and Christian manuscript practices. This book also explores the growing significance of the visual dimensions of print for such audiences, specifically how print reflected a push-pull dynamic between the continuity of scribal customs and an experimentation with new technologies. This was indicative of a moment when local intellectuals were formulating a visual language that negotiated their varied communal concerns, political motivations, and intellectual conceptions of a modern society.

Although the subject of this book centers on the Arab Nahda period in Ottoman Beirut, the book discussion considers a wider, globally comparative perspective by exploring print-related developments during this period in the Global South, specifically Southeast Asia. The conversation between Dr. Jan van der Putten and Auji will provide a new perspective from which we can consider the history of book culture during transitional periods such as the 19th century, and to explore how notions of modernity varied or overlapped in different regions, which also saw encounters between Islamic communities and Christian missionary groups.

https://www.facebook.com/events/694961847341501/

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Wednesday, Feb 22: Manuscript Cultures and the Start of an Indigenous Printing Industry in Maritime Southeast Asia

Time + Location: 6:00-7:30 PM, Building 37 (Center for the Arts + Humanities, AUB)

Speaker: Dr. Jan van der Putten (University of Hamburg)

The development of manuscript cultures in insular Southeast Asia may be viewed as the vernacularisation of Indian and Arabic traditions. These traditions brought the scripts which over time developed into localised scripts, and prompted the creation of written traditions and book culture in a region that continued to be predominantly oral in its orientation. The region is vast and characterised by an enormous linguistic and cultural diversity of communities which in the premodern era were connected through religious and mercantile networks.

In this talk I will concisely introduce some of the most conspicuous manuscript traditions of the region and try to sketch the position of an indigenous book production starting in the second half of the 19th century. This budding printing industry developed in the shadow of the British and Dutch colonial authorities and was propelled by the relations Muslim communities maintained with the Middle East.

About the Speaker:
Jan van der Putten is Professor Austronesistik in the Department of Southeast Asia (Asien-Afrika-Institut) at the University of Hamburg where he teaches on Southeast Asian literatures and cultures. Traditional Malay writing is one of his main research areas and he is a member of the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at the University of Hamburg supervising a research project about the Changing Practices of the 19th-century Malay Manuscript Economy. He also ventures into other types and periods of Malay-language cultural traditions where he explores the meaning of traditional and popular Malay texts and how these texts are disseminated among peoples and exchanged between cultures. 

Recent publications include ‘Dirty Dancing’ and Malay anxieties: the changing context of Malay Ronggeng in the first half of the twentieth century’, ‘Going Against the Tide: The Politics of language Standardisation in Indonesia’, ‘Malaiische Erotika: Biedere Sexualethik in obszönen Versen’, and Translation in Asia. Theories, Practices, Histories (co-edited with Ronit Ricci, 2011).

http://www.facebook.com/events/316230898772084/

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Events Organized by:
Hala Auji, 2016-17 CAH Faculty Fellow & Assistant Professor of Islamic Art, Fine Arts and Art History, AUB, ha156@aub.edu.lb

Workshop: Art of the Arabic Periodical (Nov 28-29, co-hosted by FAAH/CAH)

Hala Auji, FAAH assistant professor of Islamic art & a faculty fellow at AUB’s Center for the Arts and Humanities (CAH), is organizing a two-day workshop on the Ottoman periodical, “Art of the Arabic Periodical: Exploring Questions of Materiality, Readership & Language in 19th Century Ottoman Journals.” The workshop sessions will be held at AUB in Building 37 (CAH) from Nov 28-29.

See below for more details:

periodicalsworkshop_flyer

 

View workshop program here (PDF): program_arabicperiodicalsworkshop_nov2016

CONFERENCE: Do Not Resuscitate

Join us for (last) conference of Spring 2016, in which Angela Harutyunyan, Associate Professor of Art History, is serving as a panel organizer and discussant (with Sami Khatib), and Octavian Esanu, Assistant Professor of Art History, is presenting a paper:

DO NOT RESUSCITATE: CRITIQUE AND THE UNTRANSLATABILITY OF HISTORY

Organized by the Center for Arts and Humanities (Mellon Grant) at AUB
For the full three-day program, which begins on Thursday, May 12 at 2:00 pm, visit: http://www.aub.edu.lb/cah/Pages/conference.aspx

FAAH-related panel + presentations on Thursday, May 12

17:00 | Panel 1 (Angela Harutyunyan and Sami Khatib):
The “Tradition of the Oppressed” and Its Discontents

DiscussantsNadia Bou Ali (AUB), Angela Harutyunyan (AUB), Sami Khatib (AUB)

Panel papers:
1 | Massimiliano Tomba (Padua University): The Task of the Historical Materialist
2 |  Jamila Mascat (University of Paris 1 Sorbonne): In Praise of Anachronism. Untimeliness, Contingency and Strategy
3 | Octavian Esanu (AUB): Neoliberal Aesthetics: Governability, Anesthesia and Contemporary Art

Abstract: Following Walter Benjamin’s concept of history, the past is never simply gone; it can never be historicized unless it is fully actualized, recalled – cited in a revolutionary way. However, the undead specters of an unhistoricizable past can only be passed on from below – transmitted through the “tradition of the oppressed,” a discontinuous tradition bound to a partisan experience of untold sufferings. It is only this anachronic, de-subjectified experience that can connect the present with lost struggles of the past. The tradition of the oppressed is both radically singular and universal, counter-temporal (messianic, revolutionary) and counter-spatial (spectral, u-topian). Drawing on Benjamin, the panel raises the question of an “aesthetics of the oppressed” beyond bourgeois (high culture) forms of representation. What happened when the oppressed, at least for a moment or over a limited period of time, overtook the means of production within the domain of bourgeois high culture? Is there an undead inheritance of these past defeated attempts that could inspire a materialist conception of aesthetics today?

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Jabre Lecture Series: Hannah Feldman, Northwestern University

Join us tonight at 5:00 pm for a public lecture (as part of the Jabre Lecture Series in Art History and Curating), “Don’t start with the good old things but with the bad new ones: Curating in the Future Anterior” by Hannah Feldman, Associate Professor of Art History at Northwestern University.

The lecture will be held at AUB, College Hall, Auditorium B2

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UPCOMING EVENT: Prof. Daniele Genadry Solo Exhibition at Sursok Museum

Daniele Genadry, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at AUB, will be opening her exhibition “The Fall” at Sursok Museum on Thursday, February 11, 2016, from 6:00-9:00 pm.

The exhibition will be on view until April 18, 2016.

Follow the link for more information: http://sursock.museum/content/daniele-genadry-fall

EVENT TODAY: Hassan Khan presentation + conversation with Prof. Angela Harutyunyan

The Arts and Humanities Initiative and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History, in the framework of Convergences: Art, Theory and Practice, present:

Hassan Khan: Purity (2013). Text and Gamelan
Presentation and Conversation with Angela Harutyunyan

November 10, 5:00 pm | AUB Center for Arts and Humanities, Building 37

What is it that is so comforting about the narrator’s voice? And is conflict always predicated on some sort of agreement? What does the hammer strike when it does? And why do I hate this word yet choose to speak of it?

In Purity, the pre-recorded voices of a narrator and chorus of characters (constantly shifting between old misanthropes and rich drunks, disagreements in the staff room, and silence in the dining room) are occasionally interrupted by Khan’s live mixing of gamelan sounds. The piece invites its audience into a delicately constructed web of prejudices and illusions, one that forms the very basis of a civil order.

Additional event:

Hassan Khan will conduct a workshop with art history and studio arts students on November 12, 9-11:20am, in the Jesup basement. Please, send an email to angela.harutyunyan@gmail.com to sign up.

Hassan Khan, The Knot, 2012. Glass sculpture and stainless steel stand, 120 x 92 x 40 cm. Edition of 3 + 1 AP. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris Photo Anders Sune Berg
Hassan Khan, The Knot, 2012. Glass sculpture and stainless steel stand, 120 x 92 x 40 cm. Edition of 3 + 1 AP. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Photo Anders Sune Berg