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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

MES 18.01 Unmaking HIstory: Contemporary Art in the Middle East

This course focuses primarily on the work of
contemporary artists who make work in or
about the so-called Middle East. It includes
recent works by artists from nations as diverse
as Algeria, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco,
Syria, Turkey and the UAE. One of the main
objectives of the course is to look at art
practices that attempt to deepen our
understanding of the varied cultures,
ethnicities and societies that are found in this
part of the world. The geographic focus of the
course–mostly the Muslim nations of the
Arabian peninsula and North Africa–is not
meant to perpetuate the assumptions about
this region as a monolithic geopolitical entity,
nor to blindly label its production according to
existing ethnic, religious or national
categories. Against media stereotypes of the
region, the artists studied in this course have
made work that function as a critical platform
for rethinking traditional identity formations
and extending the space of cultural encounter
across borders (territorial, political, linguistic).
In many cases these artists may not be living
and working in their country of birth but their
ethnicity, religion or citizenship continues to
inform both their own sense of identity and the
terms of their art practice. Some of the topics
to be discussed include: artistic responses to
the Arab-Israeli conflict, representations of
everyday life in times of war, the movement
and obstruction of people, goods and
information across borders, the rise of new art
markets in the Middle East, the politics of
gender and sexuality in the Arab world, and
the of use archival documents to rethink the
meaning of evidence, truth and testimony.



Cross Listed Courses

ARTH 42.01 ARTH 63.22

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:ART; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.