SPUI 25: What makes a picture offensive? On religion, art and visual culture

27 June 2018

In cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and NWO Evenement

In pluralistic societies around the world, images are triggering heated controversy as never before. Their study offers a perfect entry point into the clashes between different values, ideas, and sensibilities. With: Christoph Baumgartner, Monica Juneja, Anne-Marie Korte, Birgit Meyer, Jojada Verrips, and Pooyan Tamimi Arab. How is the relation between visual regimes in art, journalism, politics, and religion negotiated in plural settings? Situated at the interface of art history, anthropology and religious studies, the volume Taking Offense unravels the dynamics of taking offense in current politics and aesthetics of cultural representation in Europe and beyond. This programme aims at presenting the book with some of its authors, but also aims to discuss questions and topics raised by the book, such as ‘pictures that divide’. Coined by one of the speakers, Pooyan Tamimi Arab, ‘pictures that divide’ describe the role of contested pictures – images of the prophet Muhammad, posters of kissing Muslim women, and offensive visual culture – in public debates on religious difference. Recent examples from the Netherlands and beyond will be discussed in relation to the book, which contains essays on the very question of what makes a picture offensive, and how this is related to anatomies of inclusion and exclusion. As an introduction, some parts of the book are available open access here.

The location of the event is Spui 25, Amsterdam. You can sign up for this program for free. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via spui25@uva.nl | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.

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