Exhibiting the Orient: 'post 9/11' representations of the Near East in UK museums
(University of Strathclyde)
Elizabeth Carnegie (University of Sheffield)
Paper short abstract:
Paper long abstract:
Since 2001, there has been a series of high profile exhibitions within nationally funded museums in the United Kingdom presenting not only cultural artifacts drawn from the Islamic and Ancient Near East, but Western generated representations of that very region. We debate the historical circumstance that provide the heightened sense of urgency and potency attached to these events amidst 'Western' interpellated anxiety about the proximity of Islam coupled with a neo-Orientalist will to power over the East. We wish to explore the extent to which these exhibitions may be a departure from traditional Orientalist presentations of the East by and for a panoptical, sovereign Western subjectivity, offering instead a lens through which that very subject position might reflexively and critically observe itself. Pursuant to this, a textual analysis of promotional literature and catalogues informs a series of interviews with key curatorial staff associated with the exhibitions.
Experience, witnessing, spectacle: performance and commemoration in the new museum