Objects in Motion: Global Interactions and Cross-Cultural Exchange from Safavid to Twentieth Century Iran.
Vardanjani, Ahmad Rafiei
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This study explores the circulation of art objects created in Safavid and twentieth-century Iran and examines them in the context of a complex and multilayered notion of identity. The network of cultural communications of these objects suggests a more multicultural and heterogeneous understanding of Iranian art and culture in both Safavid and twentieth-century Iran. This dissertation avoids the binary distinction between West and East. Instead, I examine objects' material and conceptual fungibility and mutability as essential factors that inseparably intertwine different geographies, cultures, and historical frameworks. Thus, an object's movement reveals cultural and political aspects that are not conceivable through studies that only focus on the product in its original cultural context. In this dissertation, I investigate art objects as communicative materials that bridge notions of "self" and "other" in Iranian multicultural society.