Abstract

This essay examines the connections between art and politics in Middle East arts events in the U.S. since 9/11/2001. It critiques the universalist assumptions about humanity and the agentive capacity of art to build bridges of understanding in contexts of so-called civilizational conflict—assumptions that have strong roots in anthropology. By juxtaposing evidence of how the notion of “humanity” is deployed in exhibitions of Palestinian art with an analysis of the three more predominant types of arts events (historical Islamic art, Sufi arts, and contemporary art by Muslim women), the essay demonstrates how American secular elite discourse on Middle Eastern art corresponds to that of the “War on Terror.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1518
Print ISSN
0003-5491
Pages
pp. 651-681
Launched on MUSE
2008-08-30
Open Access
No
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