Universiteit Leiden

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The Idols of ISIS

  • Aaron Tugendhaft
Tuesday 6 September 2016
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Lipsius 228

On February 26, 2015, the Islamic State released a video onto the internet depicting destruction of ancient sculptures in the Mosul Museum, claiming that these sculptures were idols that needed to be destroyed, while international organizations responded that they belonged to Iraqi and world heritage and needed to be preserved. This talk will explore how religion, politics, and art intersect in this image of image destruction and raise questions about the aestheticization of politics in the age of the selfie.


Aaron Tugendhaft

Aaron Tugendhaft studies the interplay of religion, politics, and the arts, particularly in the ancient Middle East. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in 2012 and also holds degrees in Art History and Social Thought from the University of Chicago. Before joining the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, Aaron was a postdoctoral fellow in the Graduate School for Ancient Studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Before that he was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He is the editor, with Josh Ellenbogen, of the volume Idol Anxiety (Stanford 2011). In 2013, he received the Jonas Greenfield Prize for Younger Semitists from the American Oriental Society.


This lecture is organised by LUCIS in cooperation with NINO and Ancient Worlds Network Leiden. 

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