In a book published in 2008, Arnold Hottinger provocatively asserted that as far as the Western stance toward Islam is concerned, Islam does not exist. He argued correctly that it is pure fiction to speak about Islam using one sole, monolithic and global term. Moreover, he added that the desire to see in the wide-ranging and diverse ‘worlds of Islam’ a homogeneous sphere called Islam is simply an abstract cognitive notion, which, as with any general concept, has its sole origin in the mind of the person who creates this concept or theory…. In this essay published in 2012, Avinoam Shalem aims to begin a discussion on the history of ‘Oriental’ art and artistic production within the critical framework of Orientalism, or, more broadly, within the framework of colonial and postcolonial studies; and, at the same time, to contribute to the ongoing vital discourse on the creation and definition of the term ‘Islamic art history’ as a scientific field within the wider discipline of art history.
Read More: What do We Mean When We Say ‘Islamic Art’?, by Avinoam Shalem