(Re)envisioning self and other : subverting visual orientalism through the creation of postcolonial pedagogy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel Bailey Jones (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Leila Villaverde

Abstract: "The purpose of this research was to explore the historical, cultural, and political background behind the visual representation of Muslim women in the West in the post-September 11th era and to create pedagogy based on contemporary art that can engage and unsettle stereotypes and assumptions. The history of European colonialism in traditionally Muslim countries has led to a complex and problematic centering of the covering or uncovering of Muslim women's bodies. The current influences of globalization provide a means to theorize two types of identity creation: inclusive identity that is based on a global sense of community, and exclusive identity that is predicated on the creation of concrete borders that separate "us" from "them". The exclusive identity has been central to the discourse of an impending clash between Islam/West, evil/good, and the visual representation of difference is vital to maintaining these false binaries. Historically, the West has created a visual fantasy of the Muslim woman that involved the uncovering and exposing of the forbidden, veiled woman. Contemporary artists who cross cultural geographic borders between traditionally Muslim countries and the West offer ways of constructing inclusive identities that do not break down into easy binaries. Shirin Neshat, Marjane Satrapi, Mona Hatoum, and Emily Jacir create artwork that is diverse in its medium and meaning, but all address personal experiences of movement between cultures and the shifting cultural codes that have been negotiated. Their work uses many of the visual codes of Orientalism in order to question and subvert assumed meanings. I propose a postcolonial pragmatic pedagogy based in the work of these artists. The Visual Orientalist discourse that has created the image of the oppressed, veiled Muslim woman in American public imagination must be analyzed through a critical visual pedagogy. Once assumptions are acknowledged, the work of contemporary artists can be examined and evaluated in order to pragmatically dislodge Eurocentric notions of Muslim women. The unequal relationships of power that produce Orientalism must be at the foundation of a postcolonial pedagogy that re-imagines how difference is engaged and multicultural education is created."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
historical, cultural, political, background, visual representation, Muslim, women, West, post-September 11th, pedagogy, contemporary art, stereotypes, assumptions
Muslim women in art
Muslim women
Stereotypes (Social psychology)--United States

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