is Professor of Middle East Studies at Bard College Berlin. Her teaching and writings sit at the intersection of international politics, Middle East politics, postcolonial and decolonial studies, visual cultures, and cultural studies. Her research is concerned with the political and social roles art and cultural institutions play in our lives. Prior to joining Bard College Berlin, Toukan was Visiting Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Brown University and Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies of the Middle East at Bamberg University. She has also taught at SOAS, University of London in Politics and International Studies as well as Media and Film Studies. Her book The Politics of Art: Dissent and Cultural Diplomacy in Palestine Lebanon and Jordan(2021) is published with Stanford University Press. The book is based on her PhD undertaken at SOAS, University of London which won the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) Malcolm H. Kerr Award for Best PhD in the Social Sciences in 2012. Toukan’s work has been published in Cultural Politics, Arab Studies Journal, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Radical Philosophy, Journal of Visual Culture, Journal for Palestine Studies, Review of Middle East Studies, Jerusalem Quarterly, SCTIW Review, Jadaliyya and Ibraaz amongst others. She has published chapters in Leila Farsakh (ed.) Rethinking Statehood in Palestine: Self-Determination and Decolonization Beyond Statehood (University of California Press, 2021); Viola Shafik (ed), Documentary Filmmaking in the Middle East and North Africa (Cairo University Press, 2021); Friederike Pannewick and Georges Khalil (eds.), Commitment and Beyond: Locating the Political in Arabic Literature since the 1940s (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2015); and Dina Matar and Zahera Harb (eds.), Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communication Practices in Lebanon and Palestine (IB Tauris, 2013). She is also Contributing Editor at the Jerusalem Quarterly and a member of the Editorial Collective of the Journal of Visual Culture. She was a EUME Fellow in 2012-13 and returned as EUME-CNMS Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2019-23.
Museums of the Future: Landscapes, Objects and Memories
The question of how to make the museum – an institution historically bound up with the emergence of the nation-state and the notion of the public in eighteenth-century Europe – relevant to the global conditions which shape its direction, is central to many contemporary museums’ missions to “globalize.” Inspired by this critical juncture in the historical trajectory of museums’ roles, this research asks how we are to approach some of the key questions that underpin this conundrum that globalizing museums find themselves in vis-à-vis the pressures they are under to decolonize their collections and exhibitions. This research approaches the study of museums and cultural institutions by emphasizing the value of a postcolonial approach and decolonial frameworks relevant for the twenty-first century. It asks how we are to rethink and rework the vexed relationship between what are often contested objects, local citizens, and global publics on the one hand, and the existing tensions between the aesthetical form of an exhibition, the tastes of its audiences on the other, and the politics shaping each.
Encountering the Global: Cultural Politics, Art and the Aestheticization of Protest in Contemporary Levantine Production
Toukan will continue her post-doctoral work on visual representations of resistance in Palestine under the title of “Cultural Politics and the Aestheticization of Protest in Contemporary Levantine Production”.