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O'Meara, Simon (2021) 'Out of Sight in Morocco, or How to See the Jinn in the Modern-day Museum.' In: Fromherz, Allen and Samin, Nadav, (eds.), Knowledge, Authority and Change in Islamic Societies: Studies in Honor of Dale F. Eickelman. Leiden: Brill, pp. 76-98. (Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia, v. 125)

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Abstract

This chapter explores Dale Eickelman’s counter-intuitive insight that seeing in the modern-day museum is something that needs teaching. Exploring this pedagogical desideratum in the cultural context to which it pertains, namely, Islamic culture, the chapter highlights the extent to which the modern-day museum strives for absolute visibility and shows how this aspiration fits awkwardly with Islamic culture, which is as much about invisibility as visibility. Responding to a recent challenge in visual anthropology that scholars should try to build a knowledge of their subject from a place epistemologically equivalent to the Quranic al ghayb (the unknown, or invisible), the chapter first grapples with the museological display of Islamic art from the place of the mostly invisible jinn. Second, it explores the extent to which the modern-day museum is embedded within a wider urban culture wed to a desire for total visibility and a certain type of pictoriality. This modern Western visuality, the chapter concludes, is in a certain way the opposite of Islamic visuality.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
ISBN: 9789004439528
Copyright Statement: © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2021 | This is the version of the article/chapter accepted for publication in Knowledge, Authority and Change in Islamic Societies: Studies in Honor of Dale F. Eickelman. Leiden: Brill, pp. 76-98 https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004443341_006 Accepted version downloaded from SOAS Research Online: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/30625 Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004443341_006
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 16:16
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/35439

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