‘A Profusion of Moorish Remains’: Victorian Encounters with the Islamic West
Wednesday 2 April 2014, 5pm4.05 Mansfield Cooper Building
As the nineteenth century in Britain spurned a new generation of middle-class sightseers, the remains of Islamic monuments in Western Europe increasingly represented an accessible exotic frontier. The volumes of testimonies, texts, illustrations and photographs that captured the experience of these regions also helped to shape an early historical conception of Islamic architecture in accordance with value-laden definitions of the decorative and the ornamental.
This paper will examine how Victorian encounters with Islamic architecture and ornament in former Muslim occupied regions in Spain and Portugal, as well as colonial Morocco, impacted upon perceptions of cultural difference throughout the nineteenth century. But rather than a purely Orientalist or postcolonial discussion of these texts, this paper is concerned with their anthropological dimension, critically examining the precise nature of the encounter between traveller and monument.
Dr Lara Eggleton
Sessional Lecturer in Islamic Visual Culture
Department of Art History and Visual Studies
Office Hour: Thursdays 12-1pm, Mansfield Cooper 3.12