JONES, RACHEL BAILEY, Ph.D. (Re)Envisioning Self and Other: SubvertingVisual Orientalism Through the Creation of Postcolonial Pedagogy. (2007)Directed by Dr. Leila Villaverde. 252 pp.The purpose of this research was to explore the historical, cultural, andpolitical background behind the visual representation of Muslim women in theWest in the post-September 11thera and to create pedagogy based oncontemporary art that can engage and unsettle stereotypes and assumptions. Thehistory of European colonialism in traditionally Muslim countries has led to acomplex and problematic centering of the covering or uncovering of Muslimwomen’s bodies.The current influences of globalization provide a means to theorize twotypes of identity creation: inclusive identity that is based on a global sense ofcommunity, and exclusive identity that is predicated on the creation of concreteborders that separate “us” from “them”. The exclusive identity has been central tothe discourse of an impending clash between Islam/West, evil/good, and thevisual representation of difference is vital to maintaining these false binaries.Historically, the West has created a visual fantasy of the Muslim woman thatinvolved the uncovering and exposing of the forbidden, veiled woman.Contemporary artists who cross cultural geographic borders betweentraditionally Muslim countries and the West offer ways of constructing inclusiveidentities that do not break down into easy binaries. Shirin Neshat, MarjaneSatrapi, Mona Hatoum, and Emily Jacir create artwork that is diverse in itsmedium and meaning, but all address personal experiences of movement
between cultures and the shifting cultural codes that have been negotiated. Theirwork uses many of the visual codes of Orientalism in order to question andsubvert assumed meanings.I propose a postcolonial pragmatic pedagogy based in the work of theseartists. The Visual Orientalist discourse that has created the image of theoppressed, veiled Muslim woman in American public imagination must beanalyzed through a critical visual pedagogy. Once assumptions are acknowledged,the work of contemporary artists can be examined and evaluated in order topragmatically dislodge Eurocentric notions of Muslim women. The unequalrelationships of power that produce Orientalism must be at the foundation of apostcolonial pedagogy that re-imagines how difference is engaged andmulticultural education is created.
(RE)ENVISIONING SELF AND OTHER:SUBVERTING VISUAL ORIENTALISMTHROUGH THE CREATION OFPOSTCOLONIAL PEDAGOGYbyRachel Bailey JonesA Dissertation Submitted tothe Faculty of The Graduate School atThe University of North Carolina at Greensboroin Partial Fulfillmentof the Requirements for the DegreeDoctor of PhilosophyGreensboro2007Approved by_____________________________________Committee Chair