Shifting Visual and Written Representations of the Gulf Region between the 1950s and the Present [Working Title]
Shifting Visual and Written Representations of the Gulf Region between the 1950s and the Present
With the establishment of oil exporting industries in the Persian Gulf since the mid-20th century, the ruling families of the Arabian Peninsula and, subsequently, their communities gained unprecedented wealth, but also faced a tremendous social change due to shifting economic, political and sociocultural conditions as well as a massive influx of foreign workers. Probably the most visible consequence of these changes was the transformation of the built environment along the Persian Gulf.
Drawing evidence from travel literature, commercial brochures, aerial photography, architectural drawings and masterplans, photography, newspapers and academic journals, I explore visual and written representations of the Gulf region, especially Kuwait, with a particular focus paid to its urban transformation since the 1950s. These documents are informed by the visual and written knowledge of such actors like architects, bureaucrats, photographers, urban planners, and writers and thus offer the possibility of studying their process of understanding this region and its rapid (urban) development. Correspondingly, this research analyses the media specific logics of these images and texts, their representational strategies as well as their context of production and dissemination.
Situated in the discipline of art history, the objective is to include the modern urban history of the Gulf in broader, transnational visual and written discourses since the 1950s.
First supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wendy Shaw
Second supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag
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