Based on long-term ethnographic research in the art worlds of Istanbul and Berlin, The National Frame: Art and State Violence in Turkey and Germany rethinks the politics of art by focusing on the role of art in state governance. It argues that artistic practices, arts patronage and sponsorship, collecting and curating art, and the modalities of censorship continue to be refracted through the conceptual lens of the nation-state, despite the globalization of the arts. By examining discussions of the civilizing function of art in Turkey and Germany and particularly moments in which art is seen to cede this function, The National Frame reveals the histories of violence on which the production, circulation, and very understanding of art are predicated. Karaca examines this darker side of art in two cities in which art and its institutions have been intertwined with symbolic and material dispossession. The particularities of German and Turkish contexts, both marked by attempts to claim modern nationhood through the arts, illuminate how art is staked to memory and erasure, resistance and restoration, and why art has been at once vital and unwieldy for national projects. As art continues to be called upon to engage the past and imagine different futures, The National Frame explores how to reclaim art’s emancipatory potential.
About the Speaker
Banu Karaca works at the intersection of political anthropology and critical theory, art, aesthetics, and cultural policy, museum and feminist memory studies. She has published on freedom of expression in the arts, the visualization of gendered memories of war and political violence, visual literacy, and restitution. She is the author of The National Frame: Art and State Violence in Turkey and Germany (Fordham University Press, 2021), and co-editor of Women Mobilizing Memory (Columbia University Press, 2019). She is the Director of the ERC-funded Research Group Beyond Restitution: Heritage, (Dis)Possession and the Politics of Knowledge at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin. As part of BEYONDREST, she continues her research on how dispossession and loss have shaped the scholarly and legal knowledge production on art in Turkey and beyond.
Banu Karaca is the Aron Rodrigue International Visitor at the Stanford Humanities Center (April 2023). She was nominated by the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford.
Anthropology Department Colloquium Room
Building 50, Stanford