My thesis is a critical analysis of the galleries of Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York as a case study for contemporary understandings and representations of Islam through the display of Islamic art in a post-9/11 context. I explore the revival of Islamic art exhibitions since the events of September 11, 2001, where museums across the world have found themselves tasked with building and reconfiguring the display of Islamic art objects to provide visitors with a counter-narrative to the widespread fear of Islam propagated by mass media. By tracing the intertwined histories of the Islamic art discipline, colonial and post-colonial collecting practices, Orientalism and the universal survey museum, I situate my critique of the galleries within the complex realities of cultural heritage management in order to address the problematic limitations of this curatorial counter-narrative.
Ruby Robina Saha is a Shansi English Language Teaching Fellow at Universitas Gadjah Mada. She divides her time between CRCS, where she co-teaches the Academic English course and the preparatory Summer Intensive course, and the English Language & Literature Department in the Faculty of Cultural Sciences (FIB). Prior to her appointment as a Shansi Fellow, Ruby received her BA(Hons) from Oberlin College, where she majored in Art History and Middle Eastern Studies. In 2013, she was awarded the Laurine Mack Bongiorno Prize for Art History majors, and she studied Art History and Politics at the University of Paris, where she carried out research on the galleries of Islamic art at the Louvre Museum. She wrote her graduating thesis on the politics of displaying Islamic art in Western museums after 9/11. Ruby has worked as an editor and contributing writer for several publications including The Wilder Voice, The Oberlin Review and Jurnal Humaniora. Since returning to Indonesia, her research interests have shifted to the intersection between culture and education policy, contemporary art and alternative media. After her fellowship, she plans to continue working in education and culture and intends to pursue a graduate degree in Arts Education in 2017.