Center for the Humanities

University of Rhode Island

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Humanities Festival 2018

We are thrilled to announce Dr. Asma Naeem, Curator at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, as our keynote speaker for Humanities Festival 2018, taking place Tuesday, April 17th, 4:30-6:00pm in Chafee 275. Her talk is titled “Leaving Yourself Behind: Entangled Histories of Partition in British India, Margaret Bourke-White and Zarina.”

Asma Naeem is an art historian and curator of Prints, Drawings and Media Arts at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. While there, she has curated, among other shows, “Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait,” “UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar” (co-curated with Taina Caragol), and “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now.”

Specializing in American and Contemporary Islamic art, Naeem is particularly interested in the effects of displacement, the history of technology, and the sensorial imagination of both artist and beholder. She has taught an array of courses, including Modern European Art, American Art from the Civil War to the Present, and Contemporary Islamic Art. The latter has led to her current project, tentatively titled, “Leaving Yourself Behind: The Partition of India and its Aftermath in American Art.”

She has written about the work of Shirin Neshat and Zarina and has been published in Chicago Art Journal, Artforum, American Quarterly, and American Art. Her essay, “The Partition of India and the Mobilities of Margaret Bourke-White and Zarina,” appeared in the 30th anniversary issue of American Art in August 2017. Based on her dissertation, her manuscript, “Out of Ear Shot: Sound and Technology in American Art, 1847-1897,” is forthcoming from University of California, Berkeley, Press.

Naeem holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, with a specialization in 19th- and 20th-century American art and a minor in 19th-century French art, and a B.A. in art history and political science from the Johns Hopkins University. Before returning to art history, she practiced law as a prosecutor in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

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