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Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja


Europe and the Arts of Islam

Widespread reactions to events such as the Danish cartoon controversy have generated a view of Islamic culture as the incommensurable "other" of the modern West. The arts of Islam, which historically span many continents and centuries, belong to a field which mainstream art history and media discourses have constituted as an insular and distinct entity marked by hostility to figural images on the one hand and, on the other, by an aesthetic that priviliges ornament and calligraphic forms. This lecture course explores the relationship between European and Islamic art as a connected history stretching from the early modern to the contemporary world. It covers a range of themes which draw our attention to different processes of transculturation: the ways in which Islamic art is collected and framed by museums and exhibitions in the Euro-Atlantic world, the pivotal role of trends such as Turquerie and 'oriental'modes in the shaping of artistic practices of European modernism, the reception and reconfiguraiton of mobile objects and images in new pictorial contexts within a vast Eurasian zone. The geographical focus of the case studies extends across Western Europe, the Mediterranean, Central and South Asia. The lecture course will problematize the use of concepts such as copying, emulating, masquerading, framing, repairing and destroying when studying art history beyond fixed cultural and territorial essences.

The course will include a four-day excursion to Berlin to study Islamic arts in different contemporary museological contexts - in ethnographic, art and universal museums. Each of these museum types today stakes a claim to a cosmopolitan identity for a re-unified German nation.

Accompanying the lecture course is a tutorial class (Jennifer Pochodzalla, which will discuss readings together with issues raised during the lecture. Participation is compulsory for those planning to join the excursion (max. 15). It is advisable for those who have no background in art history. Admission will be on the basis of first come first serve (upper limit: 25).

Thursdays, 9 to 11am, KJC 212

Advanced Seminar

Visual Narratives of Otherness in Europe and Asia
(co-taught with Prof. Dr. Melanie Trede)

This seminar investigates images and pictorial narratives that tell stories of how "Otherness" was conceived in the visual cultures of Japan, South Asia, and Europe. The depictions relate to imaginary as well as physically present "others" both within and outside the known geographical, social, or gendered terrain: the references could be to the next city, county or continent or even to those "others" present within the borders identified as one's "own". The seminar will include examples from pre-modern times to contemporary art with a view to examining the temporal and regional shifts in strategies of dealing with plurality and difference.

Through the analysis of concrete examples from a range of genres including painting - handscrolls, miniature albums, frescoes and oils - photography and exhibition practices as well as contemporary media, the seminar addresses questions about the kind of visual and material language drawn upon to depict and constitute otherness. What are the visual codes and modes deployed to denote positive or negative features; threatening or denigrating characteristics of creatures perceived as fiends or friends; hellish or paradisiacal other-wordliness? How are these motifs and images conceived, transmitted, and appropriated into different visual and temporal contexts? Are the depictions of "others" transformed or assimilated into established representational modes when an encounter with the actual "other" occurs (e.g. when foreigners from Europe arrive in Japan for the first time in the late 16th century)? How do typological practices of idealizing and vilifying either shift or persist in the face of mobility of actors and practices? Do images of difference travel across cultures to create transcultural practices of representing alterity? The seminar will draw attention to multiple strategies and modes of handling otherness and plurality which go beyond fixed ascriptions and oppositions between the self and the other. It will examine culturally specific languages of representing difference as well asl the mobility of images and their transcultural dimensions.

The seminar will include an excursion - possibly to Wurzburg - to study the frescoes allegorizing the four continents.

Tuesdays, 11am to 1pm, KJC 112


Berlin 18.07.2013-21.07.2013

The excursion to Berlin is organized in connection with the lecture course "Europe and the Arts of Islam" and will include visits to the Museum for Islamic Art and the KunstHalle Deutsche Bank where an exhibition of the artist Imran Qureshi (artist of the year 2013) is shown.


Forschungsseminar für Doktoranden, Magistranden und Masterstudierende/Colloquium for PhD, Magister and Master

Tuesdays, fortnightly, 4 to 6pm, KJC 002

Jennifer Pochodzalla, M.A.


Europe and the Arts of Islam
(tutorial accompanying the lecture course "Europe and the Arts of Islam" by Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja)

This tutorial accompanies the lecture "Europe and the Arts of Islam" by Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja. Within the class we will discuss readings together with issues raised during the lecture. The tutorial is compulsory for those planning to join the four-day excursion to Berlin (max. 15 students). For those having no background in art history the tutorial is recommended though not compulsory to obtain a certificate for the lecture. Other interested students are also welcome.

Thursdays, 11am to 1pm, KJC 112