The Making of Minorities in the Middle East and North Africa: Objects, Images, Spaces, Part 2

Mellon Minorities in the Middle East & North Africa Series

The Making of Minorities in the Middle East and North Africa: Objects, Images, Spaces, Part 2

Canteen, made in Ayyubid Syria/Northern Iraq, c. 1250 (Freer Gallery of Art, F1941.10; cropped)

Workshop with Lamia Balafrej (UCLA), Ethel Wolper (University of New Hampshire), Aomar Boum (UCLA), Virginie Rey (University of California, Irvine), and Stephen Sheehi (College of William & Mary).

Friday, March 12, 2021
2:00 PM (Pacific Time)

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This workshop addresses minorities and minority-formation in the art, architecture, and urbanism of the Middle East and North Africa through time. A major goal is to consider the role of visual, spatial, and material cultures in mediating minor cultural formations—how objects, images, and spaces serve to express minority cultures but also how they produce, or alternatively resist, the processes by which communities become minorities, within and against the majority cultures of the MENA region. Another aim would be to recognize the complex, varied terrain of interactions between minorities and majority cultures: to emphasize instances of transfer, exchange, and participation that challenge the binary of assimilation and opposition. Given the transhistorical scope of the workshop, the definition of what a minority is or was in the MENA cannot be generalized—even though modern categories of religious, ethnic, sexual, or gender minorities readily come to mind. In fact, one objective would be to complicate the concept of “minority,” by foregrounding minority as process, by examining the porous limits between majority and minority, and by incorporating into the historical analysis a critical reflection on what it means to write minority histories.

The first part of the workshop is scheduled to take place on March 5, 2021 at 9:00 am (Pacific Time).
Panelists - March 12:

2:00-2:15 PM   

 Opening remarks by Aomar Boum, Introduction by Lamia Balafrej (UCLA)


2:15-2:30 PM

 Temporal Sacrality and the Power of the Dead: Minority Populations and Shrine Activity in Mosul
 Ethel Wolper (University of New Hampshire)

2:30-2:45 PM

 Southern Moroccan Jews in Colonial Photography
 Aomar Boum (UCLA)

2:45-3:15 PM




3:30-3:45 PM

 Engaging with ‘Minority Voices’: Cultural Representation in Museums of the Middle East and North Africa
 Virginie Rey (University of California, Irvine)

3:45-4:00 PM

 A People’s History of the Maronites: A Portrait
 Stephen Sheehi (College of William & Mary)

4:00 PM


Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies