University of Illinois at Chicago
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An Aesthetics of Resistance: Rasheed Araeen, Bani Abidi, and Hamra Abbas

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posted on 2020-08-01, 00:00 authored by Karen Greenwalt
"An Aesthetics of Resistance: Rasheed Araeen, Bani Abidi, and Hamra Abbas" explores how constructions of national and Islamic identities, as well as other monolithic categories such as modernism, erase—or disallow—difference. Through a variety of media and approaches, the artists in "An Aesthetics of Resistance" resist, and in some cases refuse, easy consumption. Chapter one explores the work of Rasheed Araeen who—as the historical anchor of this project—assumes a central role in exploring how artists navigate the post-colonial, globalized world. Araeen’s work developed at a time when the migrant body and questions of the Islamic became intertwined as part of the public discourse in a way that it previously had not and—as such—portends the generation of artists to emerge after September 11. But while Araeen’s work expresses and confronts the experiences and violence of racism, the work of Bani Abidi and Hamra Abbas point to the systemic structures that inform neo-colonial thinking and practice. Their work considers not just the burden of art historical representation but exposes the conditions that have made representation impossible. While current art historical categories separate the world into fixed identities that assume self-contained histories, the artists examined in this dissertation disrupt conventions of categorization, collection, and display in order to counteract grand narratives that assume a teleological history.



Becker, Catherine


Becker, Catherine


Art History

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Archias, Elise Mantena, Rama Akcan, Esra Zitzewitz, Karin Taylor, Nora

Submitted date

August 2020

Thesis type



  • en

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