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On The 1976 World of Islam Festival and the Question of Time

Thursday Lecture Series

dateNovember 16, 2023 timeThursday, 12:15pm–2:00pm EST location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University locationVirtual Event
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.

The Society of Fellows hosts the Thursday Lecture Series (TLS), which runs regularly throughout the academic year. The Fall Semester TLS, our Fellows present their own work, chaired by Columbia faculty.

On The 1976 World of Islam Festival and the Question of Time

Lecture by Iheb Guermazi
Chaired by Jennifer Wenzel

This talk looks at one of the largest exhibitions of Islamic arts ever curated in Europe: the 1976 London World of Islam Festival. It examines the peculiar understanding of time and history the festival’s curators proposed and traces this event’s aesthetic theories back to a North African Sufi reformist movement initiated by Emir ‘Abd al-Qadir in the second half of the 19th century. This talk will reveal the unexpected mystical and intellectual genealogy connecting the London festival’s curators to a modern anticolonial Arab reformist movement that contested Western linear teleological histories of progress in favor of a cyclical temporal regime. It will be argued that the exhibition’s curators and theorists used such subversive epistemological claims to offer what they believed was an authentically Islamic history of Islamic art.

This event also will be recorded. By being electronically present, you consent to the SOF/Heyman using such video for promotional purposes.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.