1st Edition

Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula

By Karen Exell Copyright 2016
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

     Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula is dedicated to the recent and rapid high-profile development of museums in the Arabian Peninsula, focusing on the a number of the Arabian Peninsula states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and theUAE. These Gulf states are dynamically involved in the establishment of museums to preserve and , represent their distinct national culture and heritage, as well as engaging in the regional and global art worlds through the construction of state-of-the-art art museums. Alongside such developments is a rich world of collection and displaying material culture in homes and private museums that is little known to the outside world.

    Museum Studies literature has struggled to keep pace with such developments and Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula is the first book to coherently present:

    • a contemporary overview of the ever-evolving landscape of museums and related heritage projects in the Arabian Peninsula
    • a critical evaluation of the nature of these museum projects within the political and cultural conditions in the Arabian Peninsula
    • suggestions for productive ways forward for museum developments in the Arabian Peninsula

    Museums Studies students and museum professionals now have a book that fills an important gap in the picture of the museum worldwide. Contextualising this study in the history and politics of the region, from a scholar working within the region, this in-depth overview and critical analysis of museums in the Arabian Peninsula stands alone as an entry into this important topic.

    Chapter 1: Introduction: Questions of Globalisation, Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula
    Chapter 2: Building Nations in a Modern Middle East
    Chapter 3: Staging Identity in a Globalised World
    Chapter 4: Universal Art Museums in the Arabian Peninsula
    Chapter 5: Knowledge Production in the Realm of Culture
    Chapter 6: ‘We are not people of the city’: Narratives of Purity and Exclusion
    Chapter 7: Oil, Conflict and Memory in the Arabian Peninsula: Private Collections and Museums
    Chapter 8: ‘... [T]his shifting present which we call the future’


    Karen Exell is Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL Qatar. She has over 15 years’ experience of museums and heritage, and has been teaching museum studies in Qatar for the past four years and advising on the development of regional museum projects. Prior to this she worked as a curator and lecturer in the UK. Karen’s research interests include the role and meaning of museums outside the West, and museums and the construction of knowledge.

    "Overall, Exell portrays a broad and varied picture of the Arabian museum landscape: as people negotiate their relationship with modernity, some take a more global view, while others seek to highlight their own cultures and traditions. These processes happen simultaneously, which requires the observer to have a holistic vision of museums and cultural production in the region. Exell’s book provides us with the methodological and emotional tools to comprehend that vision."

    Sebastian Maisel, Grand Valley State University, USA