UPCOMING CONCERT: April 24-25, Fortunat Frölich’s “About Love | عن الحب”

Join us for a free performance of Fortunat Frölich’s “About Love عن الحب” conducted by Thomas Kim (Chairperson and Assistant Professor of Music, FAAH) and Fortunat Frölich (choR inteR kultuR), and sung by Rima Kcheich (Instructor of Music, FAAH). The performances will take place on April 24 + 25, at 7:30 pm, in the AUB Assembly Hall.

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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

Samo Tomšič (Humboldt University Berlin): “Rethinking Alienation”

Guest Lecture: “Rethinking Alienation” by Samo Tomšič (Humboldt University Berlin),  moderated by Sami Khatib (American University of Beirut)

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016| 5:30-7pm| Art History Reading Group| West Hall 310| AUB

The Art History Reading Group is delighted to announce the guest lecture of Samo Tomšič, author of “The Capitalist Unconscious (London: Verso, 2015). A major, comprehensive study of the connection between their work, “The Capitalist Unconscious” resituates Marx in the broader context of Lacan’s teaching and insists on the capacity of psychoanalysis to reaffirm dialectical and materialist thought. Lacan’s unorthodox reading of Marx refigured such crucial concepts as alienation, jouissance and the Freudian ‘labour theory of the unconscious’. Tracing these developments, Tomšič maintains that psychoanalysis, structuralism and the critique of political economy participate in the same movement of thought; his book shows how to follow this movement through to some of its most important conclusions.

More on https://www.versobooks.com/books/2014-the-capitalist-unconscious

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Upcoming Lecture: Alexander Keefe (NYU’s Colloquium for Unpopular Culture)

WHEN THE THEATRE WENT EAST: LA MONTE YOUNG, TERRY RILEY AND MARIAN ZAZEELA IN INDIA, 1971

June 28, 20162:00pm | Center for Arts and Humanities, Building 37 | AUB

Alexander Keefe seminar talk at AUB will focus on La Monte Young’s relationship with India, Indian music and especially Pandit Pran Nath, whom the composer accepted as his spiritual and musical guru in 1970. For Young, “guruji” presented a powerful model for emulation: both improviser and composer, singer and yogi, disciple and master. In him, Young heard a sound that stretched back through the ancient Vedas into prehistory and cosomogony. He also heard the future: for himself and his music.

Keefe starts with John Cage’s early engagement with Indian aesthetics and first visit to India in 1964 with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Cage kept Indian music at a distance, borrowing philosophical ideas from books while avoiding direct contact. La Monte Young, who first visited India with Marian Zazeela and Terry Riley in 1971, could not present a sharper contrast, or one more indicative of the generational chasm separating the two composers. Cage’s India had been one of concert halls, cocktail parties and Corbusiers; Young’s was one of small-town temples, cave-dwelling ascetics, daily practice and spiritual pilgrimage. His formal initiation as disciple carried with it obligations, not only to a living guru, but to a hallowed chain of past masters, as well as to imagined futures — and eternities.

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Tania Mouraud, Initiation Room No. 2, 1971  – From left to right Tania Mouraud, Terry Riley, Ann Riley, Pandit Pran Nath, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela

Alexander Keefe is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has appeared in BidounEast of Borneo and Artforum, among others. Keefe did graduate work in Sanskrit and Indian studies at Harvard University and later taught as an assistant professor at Ohio University. A 2010 grantee of the Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program, he has also received a Fulbright for research in India and currently holds the Inaugural Alan Erasmus Fellowship in Unpopular Culture at NYU’s Colloquium for Unpopular Culture.

For more information, please contact Angela Harutyunyan at ah140@aub.edu.lb or Sahar Assaf at sa159@aub.edu.lb 

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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CONFERENCE: Books in Motion, May 5-7, 2016

“Books in Motion: Exploring Concepts of Mobility in Cross-Cultural Studies of the Book” is a three day conference that explores new perspectives in the study of the book. The conference considers the varied inter-disciplinary approaches to studies of mobility in relation to books, specifically the ways in which these objects traverse spatial, temporal, cultural, and material boundaries. The conference brings together international and regional scholars from the interconnected fields of book history, art history, literary studies, digital humanities, and cultural studies whose research explores the material dimensions, circulation, and collection of books in Middle Eastern/Islamic, African, and Asian contexts. THE CONFERENCE INCLUDES:

  • TWO KEYNOTE LECTURES:
  • FIVE PANELS devoted to knowledge production, travel and exchange, material transformations, aesthetics and politics, and digital remediation.
  • ROUNDTABLE on contemporary art and book culture.
  • POSTER PRESENTATION by students from AUB’s English literature program.
  • BOOK EXHIBITION held at AUB’s Jafet library, curated by Hala Auji (FAAH, AUB) and Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (English, AUB), which features manuscripts, printed books, digital projects, and examples of book art related to the conference themes.

“Books in Motion” is organized by the Department of English and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut.

For details about times, venues, panels and speakers, please visit: http://www.aub.edu.lb/fas/english/Documents/BOOKSinMOTION.pdf

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.56.43 PMThis event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

It is supported by AUB’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES), the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH), and the Archives and Special Collections Department (ASC), University Libraries, and produced in collaboration with the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB), Max Weber Foundation.Funding was generously provided by AUB’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Office of the Dean, CAMES, & CAH, as well as the OIB.

The conference is part of the series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of AUB.

For more information contact conference organizers: Sonja Mejcher-Atassism78@aub.edu.lb, Hala Auji, ha156@aub.edu.lb,  and James Hodappjh53@aub.edu.lb.

UPCOMING LECTURE: Vardan Azatyan (Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts)

Vardan Azatyan, Associate Professor in art history at Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts (Armenia), will be delivering a public lecture entitled:

Art History, the Ape of the Cold War: the Case of H. W. Janson

Tues, May 3, 2016 | 5-6:30 pm | Center for Arts and Humanities, Building 37 | AUB

By drawing on the work of Erwin Panofsky’s student, a Renaissance scholar and a Modernist critic Horst Woldemar Janson, I argue that the notion of the human that underlined “the history of art as a humanistic discipline” was marked by the antithesis between animality and divinity. To hold on to this notion of the human, humanistic art history imposed on itself an a priori ethical conviction of human dignity and granted the apolitical scholarship a political dimension, politics here perceived in moral-psychological terms. I discuss Janson’s art history against the backdrop of the rise of totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and the subsequent Cold War. To understand the mediated relationship between the humanistic art history and the Cold War in its specificity, I focus on one of the figures of this uneasy mediation, the ape. During the Second World War the ape stood for the infrahuman animality that signified totalitarian anxieties Janson aimed to neutralize by locating this figure in an uninterrupted historical narrative. The ape appeared as an embodiment of the main aesthetic dilemma of the Cold War, that of mimesis. In this context, Janson entered the controversy over abstraction with a defense of Abstract Expressionism, which he anchored in the tradition of Renaissance humanism. Janson’s influential History of Art was shaped during this process and represented the full realization of the project of legitimating Abstract Expressionism as a successor of the ideals of Classical Humanism in art.

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Vardan Azatyan is an art historian and translator. He is Associate Professor in art history at Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, Armenia. As a Visiting Professor he has lectured at Columbia University, and the Dutch Art Institute, Enschede, NL. He is the cofounder of AICA – Armenia. His recent publications include articles in ARTMargins, Oxford Art Journal, Human Affairs, and Springerin. He is the co-editor, with Malcolm Miles, of the volume Cultural Memory (University of Plymouth Press, 2010). His book Art History and Nationalism: Medieval Arts of Armenia and Georgia in 19th century Germany was published in 2012 in Armenian language. He is the translator of major works by George Berkeley and David Hume into Armenian. Azatyan is the President of The Johannissyan Research Institute in the Humanities in Yerevan.

For more information, please contact Angela Harutyunyan at ah140@aub.edu.lb

Upcoming Lecture: Ahmet Ersoy (Boğaziçi University)

Ahmet Ersoy (Boğaziçi University)

Ottoman Print Culture and the Rise of the Image: Everyday Life and the Historical Past in Ottoman Illustrated Journals

Thurs., April 21, 2016 | 6:00 pm | College Hall, B1 | AUB

This lecture is part of a broader project that investigates photography in the Ottoman Empire with particular focus on the illustrated journals of the Abdülhamid era (1876-1909). The aim is to distinguish the status of photography in the Ottoman domain with reference to a broader and variegated environment of medial production, dissemination and reception. Rather than approaching the Ottoman photographic material as discrete objects of pure aesthetic and connoisseurial interest, or taking them as confirmatory evidence of all-pervading ideologies, the study follows and historicizes the traces of these images in the context of infinite, quotidian reproducibility, as they were produced, redeployed, collated with texts, and disseminated in the pages of the illustrated journals. It proposes to see these images as the product of changing medial practices and protocols that extended from the Hamidian archive and gift albums, to newspaper causerie, snapshots, postcards, illustrated textbooks and dime novels. The mechanically reproduced images in question demanded new systems of value and new rhetorical strategies in the course of their deployment, and, as they were spilled out in the Ottoman terrain, they signaled the rise of a changing experience of reading texts and images.

 Ahmet Ersoy is Associate Professor at the History Department at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. His research involves the cultural history of the Late Ottoman Empire with a special focus on visuality and its links with rising discourses of locality and authenticity during a period of westernizing change. He is the author of Architecture and the Late Ottoman Historical Imaginary: Reconfiguring the Architectural Past in a Modernizing Empire (2015), and the co-editor, with Vangelis Kechriotis and Maciej Gorny, of Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeastern Europe (1775-1945), vol. III (2010). His publications include “Ottoman Gothic: Evocations of the Medieval Past in Late Ottoman Architecture,” in Patrick J. Geary and Gábor Klaniczay (eds) Manufacturing Middle Ages: Entangled History of Medievalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe (2013), and “Architecture and the Search for Ottoman Origins in the Tanzimat Period,” in Muqarnas 24 (2007).

Event co-organized by CAMES and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History (FAAH), AUB. 

Please contact Hala Auji, ha156@aub.edu.lb for more information.

Jabre Lecture Series: Venetia Porter, British Museum

Dr. Venetia Porter, curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle Eastern art at the British Museum, will be delivering a public lecture entitled:

Disasters of War: The Inspiration of Goya

Thurs. April 14 | 5:00-6:30 pm | College Hall, Auditorium B1 | American University of Beirut

Artists of different worlds, Farideh Lashai from Iran, and the Chapman brothers from Britain found inspiration in Francisco Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra made between 1810 and 1820 depicting the atrocities of the long war between France and Spain. They engaged directly with Goya’s etchings creating new meanings. This lecture will discuss these two works, why Goya’s Disasters has proved so inspirational across time, and the multi-facetted ways in which war and its effects continue to be depicted by Lebanese and other artists of the Middle East.

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Francisco Goya, Desastres de la guerra 1810-1820. Source: Trustees of the British Museum

Venetia Porter has been a curator at the British Museum since 1989, and works on the collections of Islamic and contemporary Middle Eastern art. Born in Beirut, she studied Arabic and Islamic art at the University of Oxford, and her Ph.D from the University of Durham, was on the history and architecture of medieval Yemen. Her research and publications have ranged across a variety of subjects from Arabic inscriptions to Middle Eastern art. She has curated two major exhibitions at the British Museum: Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East, in 2006, which travelled to Dubai in 2008, and Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam (2012).

This talk is hosted by the AUB Art Galleries and co-organized by the Department of Fine Arts and Art History as part of the Jabre Lecture Series on Art History and Curating. The Jabre Lecture Series is made possible by a generous donation of Philippe Jabre.  The series aims to present talks by distinguished professionals, local and international, to promote discussion and consideration of the intersections between art history and curating.

For more information about this lecture, please email Hala Auji at ha156@aub.edu.lb