Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe - David Govantes-Edwards

Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe - David Govantes-Edwards

13. From 'Islamic Art' to 'Muslim Heritage': A Survey of Material and Visual Cultures in Museums of Europe and Beyond

Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe - David Govantes-Edwards

Virginie Rey [+-]
University of California, Los Angeles
Virginie Rey holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Melbourne. Her book, Mediating Museums (Brill 2019), explores the history of ethnographic museums in Tunisia, from colonial times to 2015. Her research interests include museum representations, heritage development, ethnography in the Middle East and Islamic museums in the global West. She currently holds a research affiliation with the department of anthropology at UCLA.

Description

This chapter critically surveys the exhibition of Islamic material and visual culture in museums of Europe from Medieval times to the present.2 Until the late 20th century, the terms ‘Islamic’ and ‘Muslim’ were used interchangeably in museums as umbrella taxonomies attached to art, architecture and material culture manufactured in Muslim-dominant countries, mentally situated outside of Europe and constructed as inherently alien to its cultural production. In this period, since the 1970s, transformations in the social sciences and new consideration for cultural diversity, have led to a reconsideration of this cultural dichotomy, especially in art museums, with curators and archaeologists considering Islamic material culture and archaeological remains as intra-European heritage, and, more recently, as part and parcel of ‘national heritage’, in an attempt to mitigate Islamophobia. This re-evaluation is happening hand-in-hand with a surge of Muslim-led museum projects. I argue that in these museums, Islamic collections are exhibited as living diasporic heritage, revealing new transcultural spaces of contact which pushes against previous understandings of the category ‘Islamic’ in museums.

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Citation

Rey, Virginie. 13. From 'Islamic Art' to 'Muslim Heritage': A Survey of Material and Visual Cultures in Museums of Europe and Beyond. Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jan 2022. ISBN 9781781797884. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=36084. Date accessed: 27 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36084. Jan 2022

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