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Islamic Art and the Museum
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This course explores how museum displays construct cultural narratives for the consumption of the viewer. It focuses on Islamic art. By examining recent (21st-century) Islamic art museums and gallery installations in North America and Europe, the course addresses the topics of art collecting, orientalism, the colonial gaze, Islamophobia, and the current visual narratives of Islam and Muslims through the arts.
In the first part of the course students are introduced to Islamic art through the collections of some of the main international museums including the British Museum (BM) in the UK, the Louvre in France, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Canada, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), NY. Students will explore the ways in which Islamic art galleries and exhibitions have evolved to reflect academic approaches including post-colonial and object studies. In the second part of the course students will use the learnings and skills acquired in the course to develop a proposal for an Islamic art exhibition and select 20 objects to illustrate their idea from the on-line museum collections.
Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes:
To enable students to gain a critical understanding of museum practices and the role of museums in shaping and constructing cultural narratives.
To enable students to gain transferable skills including critically developing, proposing and presenting an idea, critiquing it, and presenting it orally, digitally and in writing.
To enable students to recognize and identify major museum collections of Islamic art and to critically understand the ways in which they are exhibited and represented.
To enable students to gain a critical understanding of Islam and Muslim societies through their arts.