15th Istanbul Biennial Opening Symposium
September 16, 2017 / 14:00
Chosen Families symposium, sets out from the question of ‘What happens when home ceases to be welcoming, when we leave home either voluntarily or involuntarily?’ and trails the quest for different kinds of belongings beyond family as an institution, the impact of experiences of conflict and resolution that emanates from such quests on the levels of society and sociability, as well as the role of affect in political activism. In doing so, the module pays attention to the ‘homification’ of common spaces and the role it plays in the formation of subjectivities and communities.
14:00 Joseph Massad - The Price of Recognition: The One Islam and the Many
15:00 Shahrzad Mojab - Home, Exile: An Unsettled Settlings
16:00 Şükrü Argın - Rat Hole: Neighbours to our temporary homes, in ambivalence
Joseph Massad on ‘The Price of Recognition: The One Islam and the Many’
‘My lecture argues that discourses of multiculturalism, diversity, and difference cement existing European white racial supremacy even as they claim to oppose it. The calls for multiculturalism and diversity aim to bring about the assimilation of other cultures into this fantasized European culture, which always remains a constant.
Whereas all other cultures are presented by the discourses of diversity as malleable, that they should be open to change, white European culture is presented as perfect, fixed, inflexible, and appears not to need to change except in accordance with its internal dynamics. The talk engages with the question of recognition as one that is essentially white European recognition of other cultures as worthy of recognition. I will address the discourse on Islam and Muslims in Western Europe and the USA as a case in point.’
Joseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is author of four books and dozens of academic articles. His works have been translated to French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Turkish, Persian, Indonesian, inter alia. His latest books are Desiring Arabs (University of Chicago Press, 2007), which won the Lionel Trilling Book Award, and Islam in Liberalism (University of Chicago Press, 2015).
Shahrzad Mojab on ‘Home, Exile: An Unsettled Settlings’
This lecture draws on decades of research on women, war, dispossession and violence. It is partly auto-ethnographical as I will narrate my life stories of having lived through wars, displacement, exile, and settling to remain unsettled: Moving across borders, seeking refugee, beginning an exilic life, yet thinking through and reflecting on how these experiences have shaped my thinking. A process which often forces me to re-ask myself where is ‘home’? As a Marxist-feminist educator, this reflective approach to self and to society has led me to consider the conditions of violence of war, displacement, and their aftermath. I want to go beyond the trauma narrative and especially explore what our response should be to the current and ongoing war, displacement, and dispossession of millions of people around the world.
Shahrzad Mojab, is professor of Adult Education and Community Development and Women and Gender Studies at OISE/University of Toronto and the former Director of the Women and Gender Institute and internationally known for her work on the impact of war, displacement, and violence on women's learning and education; gender, state, migration, and diaspora. Her most recent research projects are Youth in Transition: War, Migration and Regenerative Possibilities; The Pedagogy and Policy of Refugee Youth Resettlement, and No Woman’s Land,which is a dance project to capture the experience of refugee women of sexual violence.
Şükrü Argın on ‘Rat Hole: Neighbours to our temporary homes, in ambivalence’
The previous century was primarily defined by class wars; it looks like the century we are in will be defined by border wars. We could of course argue that class wars are now manifest as border wars. In reality, borders are drawn not only between countries but also within countries, bifurcating and closing in on social classes, isolating them. Thus, it could be said that the rich and the poor who inhabit the same homeland/country are no longer neighbours. The categorical imperative of “Love thy neighbour as you do yourself” from above descends down conditionally and can only be realized as a conditional order: ‘Love thy Neighbour if and when they are like you.’ Maybe this was always the case, but today, this condition of ‘conditional neighbourliness’ is more prominent. The increasingly conspicuous borders between countries, regions, states, ‘state sites,’ ‘ghetto states,’ the deepening rifts, the heightening walls between classes and lifestyles are indicative of this situation.
Şükrü Argın graduated from the sociology department at Ege University. His articles have been published in journals including Birikim and Redaksiyon. He is the author of Gezi’nin Ufkundan: Liberal Demokrasinin Krizi, Kamusallık ve Sol [From the horizon of Gezi: The Crisis of Liberal Democracy, Publicness and the Left] (2014), Yaşlanan İnsanlık, Gençleşen Kapitalizm [Aging Humanity, Capitalism Growing Younger] (interview: Osman Akınhay, 2009), Nostalji ile Ütopya Arasında [Between Nostalgia and Utopia] (2003).
Free of admissions, drop in. This event will take place in the auditorium. The talk will be in English and Turkish with simultaneous translation.
Pera Museum hosted the 15th Istanbul Biennial, organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by Koç Holding. The 15th Istanbul Biennial brought together artworks by 55 artists from 32 countries, all addressing different notions of home, belonging and neighbourhood.
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