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Graduation Term


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Art

Committee Chair

Elisabeth Friedman


This thesis investigates the work of artists Lalla Essaydi, Shirin Neshat, and Shadi Ghadirian. Each artist engages in different ways with the complex histories of Orientalist discourses of representation. This includes the fetishization of the female subject and practices of veiling. Photography is the main vehicle by which the artists interrogate problematic Western ideologies and open up new spaces to think about the West's continuing colonial investments in the Middle East. Through the use of visually stunning imagery directly referencing Orientalist representations of the nineteenth century, the artists create an ambiguous space from which the viewer must negotiate and engage with these histories.


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