Barbarians, Monsters, Hybrids and Mutants: Asian Inventions of Human “Others”, University of Michigan,

This sounds like a super interesting discussion. See full abstracts here.

“Barbarians, Monsters, Hybrids and Mutants: Asian Inventions of Human ‘Others’ “

2011 History of Art Freer Symposium
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, October 22, 2011

Host Department: History of Art
Date: 10/22/2011
Time: 9:00AM – 5:00PM

Location: U-M Museum of Art Helmut Stern Auditorium, 525 S. State, Ann Arbor, Michigan

When and under what circumstances do people invent the concept of the other? This question has been posed and responded to many times over in a largely modern, colonial, Eurocentric context. However, the invention of others is not simply a European prerogative: it is a practice common to cultures and societies throughout the world, past and present. This timely symposium proposes to examine these issues in a visually rich, historically grounded and contextualized collection of talks and discussions that focus critical analytic attention on the manifold Asian imagination and invention of others. We seek to highlight and examine the robust and visually potent technologies of othering deployed in Asia by Asians past and present while addressing the multiple contexts, regional variations, and sets of interests, involved. In this way, we can focus both multi-media representations of “others” and on how and why these variable constructions were mobilized around complex cross- and intra-cultural negotiations over time.

Co-sponsored by the Charles Lang Freer Endowment and the U-M Museum of Art, with additional sponsorship from Office of the Vice President for Research, Institute for the Humanities, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology, School of Art & Design, Department of Asian Languages & Cultures, Center for Japanese Studies, Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies, Department of History, Department of Screen Arts & Cultures, Center for South Asian Studies.

See paper abstracts

  • Ali Behdad (University of California Los Angeles) Keynote Address “In My Grandfathers Darkroom: On Photographic (Self-)Exoticism in the Middle East”
  • Maurizio Peleggi (National University of Singapore) “Foreign Devils, Benign Monsters: Westerners (and Other Foreigners) in Thai Buddhist Cosmographies”
  • Fabio Rambelli (University of California, Santa Barbera) “Glimpses at the Asian Borderlands: Pre-modern Japanese Representations of India and the Muslim World”
  • Emma Teng (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “Visualizing the ‘Other’ on the Taiwan frontier: Qing Ethnographic Illustrations and Maps”
  • Ayelet Zohar (Haifa University, Israel) “The Camel Breeder, the Belly Dancer, and the Terrorist: Images of Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in Contemporary Japanese Art and Visual Culture.”

*Questions about the event can be addressed to Jennifer Robertson (