Call for application : Doctoral Workshops “Visual Arts in the Maghreb and the Middle East — 19th-21th Century” (2nd session), “Modern” and “Contemporary”: Uses and Historiographic Issues Compared  — Paris, February 12-14, 2018

Couverture des catalogues des expositions “Öncü Türk Sanat Bir Kesit. A Cross Section of Avant-Garde Turkish Art”, Istanbul, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
Catalogs covers of the exhibitions, “Öncü Türk Sanat Bir Kesit. A Cross Section of Avant-Garde Turkish Art”, Istanbul, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988

French version

Call for applications

Doctoral Workshop “Visual Arts in the Maghreb and the Middle East — 19th-21st century”  (2nd session)

“Modern” and “contemporary”: uses and historiographic issues compared

Paris, February 12-14, 2018

An ARVIMM project, organised in partnership with the Arabic Studies Section of the University of Geneva, the Institut d’étude de l’Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman (IISSM-EHESS) and the PSL Chair of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at the École normale supérieure

In collaboration with the Department “Research and Globalization” at MNAM – Centre Georges Pompidou


Previous seminars and workshops on the writing of art history in the Maghreb and the Middle East have paid particular attention to the terms used to describe and analyze art. It has become evident that there is more at stake with these terms than simply matters of lexical and linguistic borrowings. Such were the results of the reflections at the seminar ‘Art histories in the Islamic world (Maghreb and Middle East), 19th-21th century (IISMM-EHESS)’, during the first post-graduate workshop ‘Cultural practices and construction of art histories in the Islamic world’ (Fall 2016), and in the panel ‘Art histories and systems of temporality (Maghreb and Middle East)’ held at the second GIS congress ‘Middle East and Islamic World’ in July 2017.

The second doctoral workshop ‘Visual Arts in the Maghreb and the Middle East – 19th-21th century’ will examine the employment of terminologies that take into account temporality in art and the historiographic issues raised by these terminologies. The study of discourse on the arts shows that terms like ‘modern’, ‘contemporary’, ‘present-day’, and ‘avant-garde’ are often used interchangeably. At the same time, the variety of uses indicates in most cases the artist’s or the author’s positioning within the art scene, a positioning that transcends the frame of the intellectual debate about ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’. Such uses highlight hierarchy and power relationships as well as artistic and ideological positions at the national and international levels. The analysis and comparison of source material reveal underlying issues of professional and institutional recognition, which implement themselves through networks based on generational, aesthetic, or even political affinities. Thus, it is necessary to take into account the multiple meanings carried by these terminologies and to focus on the dynamics of translation at stake in multilingual contexts.

Taking terminological circulations in the Maghreb and the Middle East as its point of departure, the key issue of this doctoral workshop will be to identify the uses that demonstrate a continuity and those that signal a rupture. This will be done via a comparative approach in which the exhibition Mémoires des futurs. Modernités indiennes at the Centre Pompidou will be the pivotal point.

How to apply

The doctoral workshop is aimed at an interdisciplinary audience of young researchers, advanced master’s students or doctoral students, in the fields of art history, art theory, anthropology, sociology, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies.

Students wishing to participate are asked to submit, in English or French, a letter of motivation of max. 4500 characters, explaining how their research project is related to the theme of the workshop, as well as a 1-page CV (indicating  email and postal addresses of the candidates as well as their academic institution with which they are affiliated), both in one PDF format file. The file must be registered under the  FAMILY NAME and First Name of the candidates.

Proposals must be sent before November 30, 2017, to the following address:, with “Doctoral workshop” in the subject line.

The Scientific Committee will examine the proposals and select 12 candidates. All candidates, selected or not, will be contacted personally by December 22, 2017.

The doctoral workshop will be held in French, but participants are free to intervene in English.

The University of Geneva and the IISMM-EHESS will provide a certificate of participation on request.