ISIS-Interdisciplinary Seminar on Islamic Studies. Localizing Islam through Transnational Influences
Jessica Winegar is a sociocultural anthropologist whose work investigates how people articulate understandings of history and political-economic change through cultural production and consumption, in particular through competing notions of culture and culturedness. She is primarily concerned with the multiple ways that culture projects create social hierarchies and modern subjects while frequently hiding the mechanisms of these processes, thereby contributing to their durability.
Her first book Creative Reckonings: The Politics of Art and Culture in Contemporary Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2006) focused on these processes in the realm of the visual arts. It is an ethnographic study of the intense debates over cultural authenticity and artistic value that occur in a postcolonial society undergoing market liberalization. It examines how cultural elites reckon with the legacies of colonialism, socialism, and modernism in order to produce meaningful, yet competing, versions of national and elite visual culture in a context where “culture” itself is becoming increasingly globalized and commodified.