Join the FAAH department for the upcoming ARTmarginsconference “The Southern Question” on from November 3-4, 2017 between 11:00 am – 6:00 pm. Detailed conference program to follow.
Participants include: Karen Benezra, Nadia Bou-Ali, Lorenzo Chiesa, Octavian Esanu, Joshua D. Gonsalves, Angela Harutyunyan, Jiang Hongsheng, Sven Spieker.
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.”
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
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
Discussants: Nadia 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?
“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:
LYDIA H. LIU (Columbia University), May 6, 5:30 pm, College Hall B1, AUB
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.
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.