Gelare Khoshgozaran reviews Iraqi-American Rakowitz’s first LA exhibit, Dispute Between the Tamarisk and the Date Palm, an exploration of cultural heritage, sanctions, trade, and Iraq-US relations.
Bombay’s history is woven around tales of cosmopolitanism. But while the grandiose architecture of the colonial city gets all the attention, the vernacular architecture built by the cosmopolitanism from below in the so-called “Native Town” nearby is too often overlooked.
It is a fascinating accident of history that “Persian carpets” became a part, albeit a small one, of South African whiteness.
Carpet manufacturing during the Qajar period was dominated by the establishment of multinational corporations who invested heavily in the production of Persian carpets. The management method used by these companies inside developing countries was based on exploitation. These companies encouraged the carpet manufactures to weave inexpensive carpets of low quality and cheap coloration due to the use of chemically-unstable ink colors, which were suitable for European and American markets. These corporations encouraged economic profitability over quality.
Perceptions of historical identities and present identities have always gone hand-in-hand on the basis of heritage and descent. Artefacts that remain from these histories are not only remnants of past events and peoples, but also raw materials for potentially new projects of nation-building and identity formation, depending on how they are interpreted.
As a cultural production with a decidedly liberal agenda, Khuda Ke Liye’s failure to challenge the conflation of Islamic religious conservatism with misogyny and anti-Americanism, and the converse equation of liberalism with feminism and pacifism vis-à-vis the U.S., highlights an internalization of the War on Terror narrative among many Pakistani liberals.
The newest viral sensation in the Egyptian blogosphere is a video purporting to be a message from the “Women of Iran” directed towards the “Women of Egypt and Tunisia,” exhorting…