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Inge E. Boer

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Deserts are often imagined as empty and therefore as spaces to be colonized. Through the analysis of Gustave Guillaumet’s painting Le désert, Deleuze & Guattari’s treatise on nomadology and the novel La mise en scène by Claude Ollier, I show how emptiness is a feature of deserts only when they are perceived from the outside. This outside focalization engenders a particular politics of place that I want to critique. I do this through the reading of L’invention du désert by Tahar Djaout and an artwork by Raymond Depardon and Titouan Lamazou. Both foreground the desert as a place covered with palimpsestic traces of human histories and with flexible demarcations of lived spaces.

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After Orientalism

Critical Entanglements, Productive Looks

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Edited by Inge E. Boer

How does Edward Said’s Orientalism speak to us today? What relevance did and does it have politically and intellectually? How and in what modes does Orientalism engage with new, intersecting fields of inquiry? At the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Orientalism these questions shape the essays collected in the present volume. The “after” of the title does not only guide the contributions in a look on past discussions, but specifically points at future research as well. Orientalism’s critical entanglements are thus connected to productive looks; these productive looks make us read differently, but only after we recognize our struggle with the dominant notions that we live by, that divide and unite us. More specifically, this volume addresses three fields of research enabling productive looks: visual culture; the body, sexuality and the performative; and national identities, modernity and gender. All articles, weaving delicate, new analytical and theoretical textures, maintain vital links with at least two of the fields mentioned. Orientalism’s role as a cultural catalyst is gauged in the analysis of materials such as Iranian film, 16th and 17th century Venetian representations of “the Turk,” Barthes’ take on Japanese culture, modern Arab travel narratives, Palestinian popular culture, photography on and of the Maghreb, Japanese queer and gay culture, the 19th century Illustrated London News, theories on migration and exile, postcolonial cinema, and Hanan al-Shaykh’s and Mai Ghoussoub’s writing on civil war in Lebanon. Authors include: Karina Eileraas, Belgin Turan Özkaya, Joshua Paul Dale, John Potvin, Mark McLelland, Tina Sherwell, Nasrin Rahimieh, Stephen Morton, Anastasia Vallasopoulos, Suha Kudsieh and Kate McInturff.
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Uncertain Territories

Boundaries in Cultural Analysis

Inge E. Boer

Tracing and theorizing the concept of the boundaries through literary works, visual objects and cultural phenomena, this book argues against the reification of boundaries as fixed and empty non-spaces that simply divide the world. Expanding on her previous work on gender and Orientalism, Inge Boer takes us into uncertain territories of fashion and art, tourism and travel, skilfully engaging the ambivalence of boundaries, as both protecting and confining, as bringing distinction while existing by virtue of their ability to be transgressed. In her close readings of that boundaries as desert, as frame, as home (or lack of it), Boer shows that boundaries are spaces within, through, and in the name of which negotiations take place. They are not lines but spaces ; neither fixed nor empty but flexible and inhabited.
With the publication of this book, Boer’s intellectual legacy stretches beyond her untimely passing. The writings that she left behind can be said to have inaugurated the future of her work, presented in the latter part by several of Boer’s intellectual companions. In their original essays, the contributors elaborate on Boer’s theme of boundaries as spaces where opposition yields to negotiation. Committed to the artefact as cultural stimulant, as the embodiment of thought, their analyses span a multitude of artefacts and media, ranging from literature to photography, to art installation and presentation, to film and song. Fanning out from Boer ‘s central focus – Orientalism – to other places of contestation, boundaries are shown to mediate the relationship between self and other ; they are, ultimately, spaces of encounter.
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Disorienting Vision

Rereading Stereotypes in French Orientalist Texts and Images

Inge E. Boer

This book begins with a painting. Loyalty to cultural artefacts, listening carefully to what they have to say, is the secret of Inge E. Boer’s approach to the French Orientalists tradition. In a post-Said manner, Boer provides close readings of philosophical and literary texts, paintings, prints and other artefacts. Her readings establish a dialogue with critical post-colonial and feminist theory as well as (art-) historical and literary scholarship. She treats all these artefacts like subjects in their own right, enabling them to show and tell. This dialogic attention to detail makes for an innovative vision that shuns the sweeping statements of a priori conviction, as much as avoiding the unwitting endorsements that the rhetoric of scholarship sometimes promotes.
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Changing Stories

Postmodernism and the Arab-Islamic World

Edited by Inge E. Boer, Annelies Moors and Toine van Teffelen

In Changing Stories: Postmodernism and the Arab-Islamic World some recent ideas current in postmodernist theoretical discourse are critically investigated and pragmatically applied to concrete issues relating to the contemporary Arab-Islamic world. In particular Jean-François Lyotard's distinction between grand narratives (or master stories) and small stories (or local narratives) is taken by the authors as a starting-point and point of reference and in various ways they address the legitimacy and applicability of this distinction. After a general introduction nine separate articles deal with the predicament of Palestinian women in the occupied territories, Dutch development-aid discourse in Gaza and the West Bank, Islamism and modernism in Tunisia, modernist and postmodernist political discourse in Egypt, feminism in Egypt and, as a travelling theory, in the Arab world as a whole, juridical and educational attitudes towards Turkish and Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, and the concept of the Islamic city.
The volume should therefore be of interest not only to those concerned with Middle Eastern studies but also to anyone wanting to keep abreast of the latest currents in critical and theoretical discourse.