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Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East REVIEW Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East Anthony Downey, ed. London: Taurus, 2015 469 pages. ISBN 9781784534110 Reviewed by RIJUTA MEHTA “We are literally in need of archives,” declares Hela Ammar, a Tunisian visual artist and “self-described militant feminist.” Ammar’s statement, published in March 2014 on the multilingual research forum Ibraaz, is one among many declarations about archive for- mation after the Arab Spring (Gabsi 2014). Underlying its urgency is the assumption that in times of disorientation, archives reorient people, acting as symptoms of and remedies for the precariousness of political upheaval. “It is precisely when the future appears uncertain,” continues Ammar, “that one returns to the past.” While this may be the case, the uses of archives are not limited to their symptomatic and therapeutic appearance in times of revolution. Archive is also among the preferred critical terms used to theorize subversive aesthetics and politics today. A weighty anthology, Dissonant Archives features the work of over thirty scholars and contemporary artists, including Emily Jacir, Mariam Ghani, Walid Raad, Akram Zaatari, and Naeem Mohaiemen,who have contributed to an unprecedented expansion in archival knowledge in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Middle East Women's Studies Duke University Press

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East

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Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies
ISSN
1552-5864
eISSN
1558-9579
DOI
10.1215/15525864-7025469
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

REVIEW Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East Anthony Downey, ed. London: Taurus, 2015 469 pages. ISBN 9781784534110 Reviewed by RIJUTA MEHTA “We are literally in need of archives,” declares Hela Ammar, a Tunisian visual artist and “self-described militant feminist.” Ammar’s statement, published in March 2014 on the multilingual research forum Ibraaz, is one among many declarations about archive for- mation after the Arab Spring (Gabsi 2014). Underlying its urgency is the assumption that in times of disorientation, archives reorient people, acting as symptoms of and remedies for the precariousness of political upheaval. “It is precisely when the future appears uncertain,” continues Ammar, “that one returns to the past.” While this may be the case, the uses of archives are not limited to their symptomatic and therapeutic appearance in times of revolution. Archive is also among the preferred critical terms used to theorize subversive aesthetics and politics today. A weighty anthology, Dissonant Archives features the work of over thirty scholars and contemporary artists, including Emily Jacir, Mariam Ghani, Walid Raad, Akram Zaatari, and Naeem Mohaiemen,who have contributed to an unprecedented expansion in archival knowledge in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The

Journal

Journal of Middle East Women's StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2018

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