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History of 19th century Arab photography through portraiture

Event Details

History of 19th century Arab photography through portraiture

Time: February 16, 2012 from 6pm to 7pm
Location: Room 215, Foundation Building
Street: 7th East, 7th Street
City/Town: New York
Website or Map: http://cooper.edu/art
Phone: (212) 353-4100
Event Type: talk
Organized By: Cooper Union School of Art
Latest Activity: Jan 28, 2012

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Event Description

Or The Arab After-Image/All Photography expresses Social Relations.

Prof. Sheehi re-evaluates the history of 19th century Arab photography, particularly portraiture. Many have asserted that vernacular photography, not only in Southwest Asia, seems to have participated in the self-fashioning and self-presentation of the new middle classes in turn producing new knowledge and meaning important for modernity. Contrarily, Prof. Sheehi will argue that even if the utility of the studio portrait served as a means of self-presentation, photography that was patronized, consumed and circulated by local populations did not produce or even codify new forms of knowledge or meaning during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Through its production, exchange, circulation and deployment, photographic portraiture, rather, functioned within a signification system that had already made the subject intelligible within modernity’s new social order. To put it more concisely, photographic portraiture was a performative after-effect of transformations that had already been underway for some time.

Stephen Sheehi is an internationally acclaimed author, scholar and activist. Prof. Sheehi is Associate Professor of Arabic and Arab Culture at the University of South Carolina and has taught Arab and Western intellectual and literary history at the University of Utah, Duke University and the American University of Beirut.

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