Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East

Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East

Rhetoric of the Image
Edited by Christiane Gruber and Sune Haugbolle
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/26/2013
Format: paper 376 pages, 22 color illus., 79 b&w illus.
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-00888-6
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This timely book examines the power and role of the image in modern Middle Eastern societies. The essays explore the role and function of image making to highlight the ways in which the images “speak” and what visual languages mean for the construction of Islamic subjectivities, the distribution of power, and the formation of identity and belonging. Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East addresses aspects of the visual in the Islamic world, including the presentation of Islam on television; on the internet and other digital media; in banners, posters, murals, and graffiti; and in the satirical press, cartoons, and children’s books.

Author Bio

Christiane Gruber is Associate Professor of Islamic Art, Department of Art History, University of Michigan.

Sune Haugbolle is Associate Professor in Global Studies and Sociology at the Department for Society and Globalization at Roskilde University.


"This volume takes a new approach to the subject . . . and will be an important contribution to our knowledge in this area. . . . It is comprehensive and well-structured with fascinating material and analysis." —Peter Chelkowski, New York University

"An innovative volume analyzing and instantiating the visual culture of a variety of Muslim societies [which] constitutes a substantially new object of study in the regional literature and one that creates productive links with history, anthropology, political science, art history, media studies, and urban studies, as well as area studies and Islamic studies." —Walter Armbrust, University of Oxford

Visual Culture contributes to filling a gap in knowledge and understanding concerning how images are articulated locally, statewide, and regionally, as well as imported and re-articulated in the modern Middle East. This work moves the study of Islamic art forward from the twentieth to the twenty-first century by engaging the role of visual culture through the framework of formations of secular and Islamist registers in public culture." —360 Degrees

"Gruber and Haugbolle have provided a helpful and engaging introduction to the study of visual culture in the Middle East. For lay readers, this volume could provide a starting point for a deeper understanding of the relatively crude discourse over the use of images in these cultures, and inspire a more determined engagement with the visual production of the Middle East." —H-AMCA

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Table of Contents

I. “Moving” Images
1. Images of the Prophet Muhammad
In and Out of Modernity: The Curious Case of a 2008 Mural in Tehran /Christiane J. Gruber
2. Secular Domesticities, Shiite Modernities: Khomeini’s Illustrated
Tawzīh al-Masail /Pamela Karimi
3. Memory and Ideology: Images of Saladin in Syria and Iraq /Stefan Heidemann
4. “You Will (Not) Be Able to Take Your Eyes Off It!”: Mass-Mediated Images and Politico-Ethical Reform in the Egyptian Islamic Revival /Patricia Kubala
II. Islamist Iconographies
5. The Muslim “Crying Boy” in Turkey: Aestheticization and Politicization of Suffering in Islamic Imagination /Özlem Savaş
6. The New Happy Child in Islamic Picture Books in Turkey /Umut Azak
7. Sadrabiliyya: The Visual Narrative of Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Islamist Politics and Insurgency in Iraq /Ibrahim Al-Marashi
8. The Martyr’s Fading Body: Propaganda vs. Beautification in the Tehran Cityscape /Ulrich Marzolph
III. Satirical Contestations
9. Pushing Out Islam: Cartoons of the Reform Period in Turkey (1923–1930) /Yasemin Gencer
10. Blasphemy or Critique?: Secularists and Islamists in Turkish Cartoon Images /Pinar Batur and John VanderLippe
11. Naji al-Ali and the Iconography of Arab Secularism /Sune Haugbolle
IV. Authenticity and Reality in Trans-National Broadcasting
12. Arab Television Drama Production and the Islamic Public Sphere /Christa Salamandra
13. Saudi-Islamist Rhetorics about Visual Culture /Marwan Kraidy
Notes on Contributors
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