Despite well-meaning and well-informed scholarly and museological intentions, Islamic art history has had limited success as a good ambassador for Islam. Rather than suggesting that it should not be expected to take on this public role and cannot responsibly make such an attempt, or that the problem should be avoided by jettisoning the term ‘Islam’ from the name ‘Islamic art history’, this paper proposes the following. First, in order to function as a critical humanistic discipline, Islamic art history must engage in a self-conscious critique of the historiographic problems of its nomenclature in relation to its own sociopolitical contexts. Second, the field should, wholeheartedly and with critical self-awareness, take on the public and political role that has been foisted upon it by sociopolitical imperatives that will be discussed below.
Read More: The Islam in Islamic Art History: Secularism and Public Discourse, by Wendy M. K. Shaw