The Council on Middle East Studies presents:
“In Search of an Islamic Avant-Garde.”
From Hip Hop music to graffiti street art to experimental film and dance, contemporary Islamicate cultural production continues to push the boundaries of what Muslim or Islamic art looks like. Are we then seeing the emergence of an Islamic Avant-Garde – creative activity that causes a genuine “shock of the new”?
If so, what does it actually look like? Who are its protagonists? Is it one movement or many? Maybe, such terms aren’t useful at all. How then can we theorize about these new artistic trends? More broadly, what social and political impact is such cultural production having? Is it changing the way religious identity, belief or practice is expressed?
A multidisciplinary panel comes together to explore these questions, reflecting on their own academic and cultural practice through the lens of contemporary art and popular culture. The panel features:
• Alex Dika Seggerman: Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at the Council on Middle East Studies. Dr. Seggerman’s scholarship investigates the intersection of Islam and modernism in art history. This includes archival research on modern Middle Eastern art movements, as well as an examination of how Islamic art history is a product of the modern era.
• Nahid Siamdoust: Postdoctoral Associate in the Yale Program in Iranian Studies at the Council on Middle East Studies. She is the inaugural Ehsan Yarshater Fellow in Iranian Studies. Dr. Siamdoust is a cultural historian whose work concentrates primarily on the intersection between politics and various modes of cultural production and media forms (music included) in Iran and the wider Middle East, with an acute focus on questions of cultural mediation, political power and social movements.
• Saima Akhtar: Postdoctoral Associate in Computer Science and The Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University. Dr. Akhtar is an urban historian and architect by training and holds a PhD in Architecture from UC Berkeley. She was also Co-Curator of “Multitudes: Art in the Age of the #muslimban,” which was shown at the Richard F. Brush Gallery at St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY in Fall 2017.
The panel is convened and facilitated by Abdul-Rehman Malik. A Yale Greenberg World Fellow 2017, Abdul-Rehman is currently a Postgraduate Associate at the Council on Middle East Studies with a specific interest in exploring Muslim cultural production and mapping Islamicate cultural eco-systems. He is a radio journalist and documentarian and has spent the last 15 years designing and implementing programs around the world that aim to build resilience to extremism and violence.
Join us for what will be a fascinating discussion. Coffee, Tea and Biscuits will be served!