Book Reading/Signing: The Cultural Politics of Damascus

Thu, June 1, 2006 6:30 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Alwan for the Arts Presents

Christa Salamandra The Cultural Politics of Damascus Reading/Book Signing/Q&A

Thursday, June 1, 2006, 6:30 PM

Christa Salamandra's A New Old Damascus: Authenticity and Distinction in Urban Syria (Indiana University Press, 2004) explores how debates about the representation, preservation, and restoration of the Old City of Damascus have become part of status competition and identity construction among the city's elite. In theme restaurants and nightclubs that play on images of Syrian tradition, in television programs, nostalgic literature, and visual art, and in the rhetoric of historic preservation groups, the idea of the Old City has become a commodity for the consumption of tourists and, most important, of new and old segments of the Syrian upper class. In this lively ethnographic study, Christa Salamandra argues that in deploying and debating such representations, Syrians dispute the past and criticize the present.

Christa Salamandra, a recently-appointed Alwan Board Member, is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lehman College, City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, where she also served as Postdoctoral Research Associate, exploring the local/global dynamics in the development of what may be called an Arab London. She has been a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at Lebanese American University in Beirut. Her current fieldwork among Syrian cultural producers examines the recent expansion of the pan-Arab television industry.

Last updated: 2007-09-21 08:25:39

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