Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

The New York Public Library will be closed on Monday, October 12 in observance of Columbus Day.

Lectures from the Allen Room and the Wertheim Study: Orientalism vs. Inclusive Practice in Exhibition : Islam and Muslim Peoples in Western Museums, 2011 - present


July 25, 2013

Program Locations:


After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Muslim peoples and the religion of Islam have become politicized and demonized in many Western media representations[1]. Specifically, Islam and Muslim peoples have been represented as closely associated (if not inextricable) with religious extremism/global terrorism (which is also known as Islamophobia) in many Western mass media representations[2].
Contemporaneously, there has been an increase in religion- based cultural exhibition[3], particularly representations of Muslim peoples and Islam in various Western cultural institutions.
Utilizing the visual culture discourse as a methodology, this illustrated presentation explores the connections and societal importance between the contemporary media representations and exhibition text panels/ design within the following major reinstallations of permanent collections and temporary exhibitions:
·        Islamic Arts Wing at the Louvre- Paris, France, reinstallation
·        New Galleries of the Art of Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York City, USA, reinstallation
·        Arts of the Islamic World Galleries- Brooklyn Museum, USA, reinstallation
·        The Islamic Middle East Galleries- Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, reinstallation
·        Hajj: journey to the Heart of Islam at the British Museum- London, UK, temporary exhibition
·        1001 Inventions- Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World,-New York Hall of Science, USA, temporary exhibition
·        Three Faiths, New York Public Library,- New York City, USA, temporary exhibition

[1] Abdel-Malek 1963; Allison 1995; Asad 1980; Bealieu and Roberts 2002; Curtis 2009; Edwards 2000; Halliday 2011, 2001, 1993; Hackforth-Jones and Roberts 2005; Little 2008; Lockman 2009; Macfie 2002; Nochlin 1989; Oueijan 2011a, 2011b, 2006, 1996; Prakash 1995; Said 1978, 1980, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003; Weir 2011.
[2] Abdo 2006; Akram 2002; Bakalin and Bozorgmehr 2009; Cainkar 2004; Esposito and Kalin 2011; Gottschalk and Greenberg 2008; Kumar 2012; Lawrence 2000; Lean and Esposito 2012; Poole 2002; Said 1980, 1997; Shah 2012; Shaheen 2009, 2008, 2002, 1984; Sheehi 2011
[3] Paine 2012; Reeve 2012


Melissa Forstrom is a writer in residence in the Library's Wertheim Study and a Doctoral Student In Visual Culture at the University of Westminster, London.

Click here for other lectures from the Wertheim Study.