AKPIA Lectures

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AKPIA@MIT Fall 2016 "An Evening With..." Lecture Series
Cultures of Upheaval

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Sep 12, 2016 - 6:00pm

Photography, especially studio portraiture, became instantly popular on the Swahili coast of eastern Africa and by the 1880s residents of such port cities as Mombasa and Zanzibar avidly collected and commissioned photographs of locals and distant others. Although photography was used as a medium for the performance of selfhood later on, during its early history it was about murkier, even intractable meanings.

Oct 3, 2016 - 6:00pm

Five years ago, a new chapter in Syrian art was set in motion when a popular uprising in the southern city of Daraa began. The uprising inspired an unprecedented outburst of political commentary and creativity. Syrian artists living at home and abroad responded with an outpouring of images; some were anonymous and circulated clandestinely through various channels such as social media, while others were shown in galleries in Beirut and Dubai.

Nov 7, 2016 - 6:00pm

The Islamic State’s destruction of archeological sites including Palmyra and Nimrud in 2015 was widely covered in the Western media, and has launched a flurry of projects with the goal of combatting the destruction through the use of digital technologies. Technologies such as 3D modeling and printing have been hailed as salvific, and their ability to preserve threatened sites, reconstruct destroyed ones, and disseminate knowledge of the past cheaply and easily all over the globe have been called the only possible remedy for IS’ destruction. But is it really so simple?

Nov 14, 2016 - 6:00pm


Dec 5, 2016 - 6:00pm

The cemevi is the architectural setting for cem ceremonies, the primary religious gatherings of the Alevi Muslim minority. Alevis, along with their ancestors, have practiced in what are now Turkey and its surrounding states since the thirteenth century. They eschew the mosque as an architectural paradigm and as an institution.