Book Talk with Mercedes Volait

April 5, 2022 - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Mercedes Volait

Antique Dealing and Creative Reuse in Cairo and Damascus 1850-1890: Intercultural Engagements with Architecture and Craft in the Age of Travel and Reform (Leiden: Brill, 2021)  Open Access

The commodification of Islamic antiques intensified during the Tanzimat period, an age of domestic reform and increased European interference in the Ottoman Empire. The book examines the social lives and collective biographies of typical objects moving from Cairo and Damascus to Paris, London, and beyond; it uncovers the range of agencies and subjectivities involved in the trade of architectural salvage and historic handicraft from the two capitals, and traces their afterlife in private interiors, through creative reuse, in Egypt, Europe and the US. By devoting attention to both vernacular and global engagements with Middle Eastern tangible heritage, the  volume invites to look anew at Orientalism in art and interior design, the canon of Islamic architecture and the translocation of historic works of art.

Sponsored by Franklin Humanities Institute, History Department, Art History, Duke Libraries, The Manuscript Lab, DUMESC

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  • Duke University Middle East Studies Center