Decolonizing the Archive. On the Uses of Primary Documents from the Arab World

Radwan, Nadia Susanne (September 2019). Decolonizing the Archive. On the Uses of Primary Documents from the Arab World (Unpublished). In: Global Art History and the Documentary Turn : Theory, Method, Archives. NYU Abu Dhabi. 21-22 September.

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The use of documents in modern and contemporary art is not a new phenomenon although in the past decades the “archival fever” coined by Derrida and defined as an unsettling and ever-expanding notion, has led art historians (Buchloh; Foster), as well as curators (Obrist; Enwezor) to reflect on the political power of archives and primary documents and their significance for the (re-)writing of global art histories. This contribution addresses the politics of the archive, as well as issues of language and translation by focusing on the Manifesto of the Egyptian Group of Contemporary Art (Jama‘at al-fann al-mu‘asir) issued in 1949. It also highlights other types of documents, - educational or intimate - that that have been overlooked by historiographies despite their significance for Arab modernisms. This attests to the system of inclusion and exclusion of what belongs and what doesn’t belong to the archive. Within a context that requires a constant navigation between the private and the institutional, marked by presences and absences, locations and dislocations, this paper aims to reflect on possible paths towards a decolonizing approach to the archive from the Arab world.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History

UniBE Contributor:

Radwan, Nadia Susanne


700 Arts




Nadia Susanne Radwan

Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2020 11:04

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:34


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