Middle East Studies

Workshop – Gendered Approaches to Restitution: Labor, Migration, Structural Amnesia and Trauma

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Friday, February 7, 2020

2:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute
111 Thayer St.

Registration recommended but not required

The Decolonial Collective on Migration of Objects and People organized by Brown University professors Ariella AzoulayYannis Hamilakis, and Vazira Zamindar are organizing a workshop titled "Gendered Approaches to Restitution: Labor, Migration, Structural Amnesia and Trauma."

The mass plunder of objects from different places was instrumental in shaping the institution of museum and imposing it as the ultimate destination for precious objects of art. This was inseparable from the attack on and degradation of different forms of art-making with which women were engaged as part of a broader care for the world and mode of participating and negotiating their place, status and roles in the different communities, nations, tribes, societies and confederations of which they were members. Plundered objects were and are often instrumental in rituals of bonding, sociality, and care, in which women play a crucial role. Art-making was never only about the production of objects, but rather part of world-making, caring and sustaining; and restitution should be conceived accordingly. Assuming that the harm caused by plunder exceeds the disappearance of objects from their communities, and often generated subsequent disasters in those places, this workshop considers restitution – including migrations out of ongoing disasters left by plunder and toward places where objects are held – as part of world repairing.


    Organized through the Center of Middle East Studies by:

    Ariella Azoulay, professor of comparative literature and modern culture and media
    Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, associate professor of history
    Yannis Hamilakis, Joukowsky Family Professor of Archaeology and professor of modern Greek studies


    Friday, February 7, 2020

    1:45-2:00 p.m. – Registration
    2:00-2:15 p.m. – Welcome

    Panel 1 

    2:15-2:45 p.m. – Maria Iñigo Clavo (Open University of Catalonia) "Indigenous Women Wrapped in Textiles in Guatemala"
    2:45-3:15 p.m. – Ana Paulina Lee (Columbia University) "Sorcery and Violence in the Archive"
    3:15-3:45 p.m. – Hande Sarikuzu (Binghamton University) "Kurdish Walnuts, Armenian Mulberries, Greek Vines: Love, Labor, and Plunder after Forced Migration in Turkey"

    3:45-4:45 p.m. – Discussion
    4:45-5:00 p.m. – Break

    Graduate Student Roundtable

    5:00-5:15 p.m. – Kate Elizabeth Creasey (History, Brown University) & Mirjam Paninski (German Studies, Brown University) "Care of Wounded Things as a Form of World Care: A Critical Reading of Paola Yacoub’s Work"
    5:15-5:30 p.m. – Cresa Pugh (Sociology & Social Policy, Harvard University) "The Missing Women of Igun Street: Legacies of Gendered Bronzecasting in the Benin Kingdom (Nigeria)"
    5:30-5:45 p.m. – Radhika Moral (Anthropology, Brown University) "Migrants, Materialities and Mobilities in the Brahmaputra Valley: Affect and Emotive Lives of Women from Chars"

    5:45-6:30 p.m. – Discussion

    Maria Iñigo Clavo is a researcher, curator and lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia, with a Ph.D. from the Universidad Complutense, Madrid. She has been associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins School of Arts (2018-19). Her research focuses on coloniality, curating and museology, modernity, inventions of otherness, emotions, epistemic diversity, untranslatability and art in Latin America, with special attention to Brazilian art. She has written extensively for publications such as e-flux, Third Text, Afterall, Stedelijk Museum, Museum of Art of São Paulo, Fran Hals Museum, Valiz, Reina Sofia Museum, MACBA, Wales University Press, L´international

    Kate Elizabeth Creasey is a graduate student in the Department of History at Brown University. Before coming to Brown she pursued graduate studies at Bilgi University in Istanbul and the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation examines how the 1980 military coup in Turkey reorganized everyday life and paved the way for neoliberal transformation. 

    Radhika Moral completed her M.A. in cultural studies at Dartmouth College during which her research focused on the Rohingya crisis, broadly, on migrant bodies and affective lives caught in ethno-nationalist politics. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in anthropology at Brown University. Her research focuses on migration and its relationship with social and cultural dynamics of water and climate in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam in India’s Northeast. Central to this are issues of agricultural labor and identity politics in regional formations tied to more contemporary debates on citizenship and even possible exclusion from the Indian state.

    Mirjam Paninski is a doctoral candidate in the Department of German Studies. She studied comparative literature, German studies, aesthetics, and the philosophy of culture at the University of Vienna. Her research interests include the manifestation of trauma and loss of speech, the gaps of language, translation and translatability of and within 20th century poetry. She also works in contemporary arts, curating and co-curating art shows, conferences and workshops in Vienna, Beirut, Istanbul, Tbilisi and Zagreb. Her Ph.D. project revolves around rhetoric and interferences of violence, as well as staging, pathologizing and conceptualizing of the body during pregnancy and childbirth. 

    Ana Paulina Lee is assistant professor of Latin American and Iberian cultures at Columbia University. Lee's research and teaching interests focus on race, gender, nation, and citizenship; urban histories, and cultural studies with a focus on 19th and 20th century Brazil and Portuguese-speaking Asian countries. Professor Lee is the author of Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation and Memory (Stanford University Press, 2018), winner of the 2019 Antonio Candido Prize for Best Book in the Humanities.

    Cresa Pugh is a doctoral student in Sociology & Social Policy at Harvard University. Her research includes the social legacies of imperialism, ethnic and religious conflict, and the role of collective memory in peacebuilding efforts. Pugh’s dissertation examines the imperial origins of global inequality through the lens of cultural materiality. Drawing on artifact restitution debates between Nigeria and the UK, her project interrogates how neo-colonial power relations materialize in struggles over cultural patrimony. A native of Nashville, TN, she holds a B.A. in anthropology and religion from Bates College and an M.Sc in migration studies from the University of Oxford.

    Hande Sarikuzu is an anthropologist who works on the politics of transitional justice in Turkey and the Middle East. After receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, she pursued her Ph.D. in anthropology at Binghamton University. Hande’s doctoral dissertation investigated the vernaculars of peacemaking, in issues such as the moral economy of reconciliation, exhumation of mass graves, rumors and neoliberal statecraft. Her ongoing work tackles questions of democracy, authoritarianism, and neo-nationalism, focusing on the role of administrative justice mechanisms after seizures of power in Turkey and beyond.