Project ‘1975’ Essay Elizabeth Kassab

Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab is the author of the fourth Project 1975 essay
‘The Arab quest for empowerment. A thought of one’s own, a government of one’s own, an art of one’s own.’
Her essay reflects on the role of the intellectual in the Arab world in the decades after decolonization in the context of the ‘Arab Spring’.

While the Arabic regimes were criticised by a marginal group of intellectuals in the seventies, Kassab for instance refers to the Syrian film director Omar Amiralay, they are currenly joined by large masses of ordinary men and women. They reformulate the grievances and claims that were formulated before by the critical thinkers. However, these current demonstrants are not motivated by the writings of these thinkers but instead by the suffering in their own lives and the overwhelmed exasperation. With this shift in the performance and expression of criticism how should we define the role of intellectuals and artists? Download Newsletter 122 here to read Elizabeth Kassab’s essay.

Kassab studied at American University of Beirut business administration and philosophy, and continued her graduate studies in philosophy at Fribourg University in Switzerland. Her overall interest has been in the philosophy of culture, both Western and non-Western, with a particular focus on post-colonial debates on cultural malaise, authenticity and critique. Her book Modern Arab Thought. Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective was published in 2009 by Columbia University Press. She is currently a visiting research fellow at the Berlin Graduate School for Muslim Cultures and Societies and working on a new book on revolutions and Enlightenment in the Arab world.

Project ‘1975’ Essay Lucrezia Cippitelli

In every newsletter of the exhibitions of Project ‘1975’ a guest curator or art critic will write an essay on the topic of post-colonialism in contemporary art. The first one to write is Lucrezia Cippitelli, professor of Aesthetics at the Art Academy of L’Aquila, a visiting scholar at Cornell University.

Eurocentrism and its Critique: from Third World Perspectives to Global Internationalism

“Eurocentrism is anti-universalist, since it is not interested in seeking possible general laws of human evolution. But it does present itself as universalist, for it claims that imitation of the Western model by all peoples is the only solution to the challenges of our time.”1 Samir Amin’s incisive analysis of the concept of Eurocentrism traces its origins back to the end of the 1970s. Even if it seems to perfectly depict the world of the early 21st century, this notion first circulated at a time when the global process of decolonization was nearing its conclusion and the postcolonial critique was finding a place in the Anglo-Saxon academic world.2 In his seminal essay published in 1978, the Egyptian Marxist economist uncovers the roots of a phenomenon which he describes as specifically Modern – strongly rooted in the European Renaissance – and built up in only five centuries, in order to justify the powerful and impregnable one-dimensional cultural system of the modern world. The product of this ideological process is, according to Amin, a Western history that shows a progression form ancient Greece to Rome, to feudal Christian Europe, to capitalist Europe.3 It is a cultural construction of a one-dimensional continent (white, Christian, scientifically progressive, in constant philosophical development, enlightened, capitalist, free, democratic), which furthermore over the centuries invented and defended the abstract idea of a dominant West and its counterpart, the Other, the Rest, the Different, and often the Enemy.4