Ariela Azoulay teaches political thought and visual culture at Brown University.
Her website can be found here.
May 11, 2016
New York City, New York
CUNY – The Graduate Center
The Multaqa: Museum as Meeting Point program, an initiative of the German Ministry of Education, Science and Culture that trains refugees from Iraq and Syria for guide positions in a handful of cultural and historical museums, has been widely praised in the Western media. But, as Ariella Azoulay argues in this excerpt from a work-in-progress, it doesn't go nearly as far as it could to undermine the cultural dynamics of imperialism and give rise to a new set of human rights.
It is no secret that millions of objects that had never been destined for display in white cubes were looted from all over the world only to be carefully handled and preserved in Western museums as precious objects. Once looted, these objects were made inaccessible to the people who had created them and to the communities in which they had been produced, used, and exchanged.
After provocatively arguing for photography as a civic practice capable of reclaiming civil power in Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography, Ariella Azoulay engages with the intersection between linguistics, heritage, and social justice in a searing memoir, Mother Tongue, Father Tongue. Azoulay thoughtfully and provocatively reminisces about her experience growing up as a Mizrahi woman in Israel, addressing the alienation, estrangement, and civil injustice that continues to plague equality in Israeli society.