Retelling the Global Contemporary; a Case Study: She Who Tells a Story; Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 27, 2013–January 12, 2014; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., April 08–July 31, 2016.


This thesis analyzes an exhibition that is a site for discussing the global contemporary in its relation to a specific selection of photographs that aimed to define a geographic area—Iran and the Arab World. This analysis is focused more specifically on Iran. By historicizing the works of a number of Iranian artists in the exhibit She Who Tells a Story (Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World), this thesis examines the overgeneralizing narrative of a US site-specific exhibition, thereby complicating the existing institutional narratives by underlining the contextual particularities. This analysis contends that developing a substantial and reliable body of scholarship about the art world of each of the countries in the region, broadly called the Middle East, demands undertaking an on the ground research to build an archive of multiple histories and a vivid forum of different modes of knowledge.



Global Contemporary, Photography, Middle East, Iran, Neo-Orientalism, Center-Periphery, Historicization