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Unveiling perspectives: Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi teaches course on modern Middle Eastern art at AUS
Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation and Trustee of American University of Sharjah (AUS), is teaching the course Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art this spring semester at AUS. This opportunity marks a homecoming for Al Qassimi, as he returns to teach in the UAE after years of teaching abroad.
Housed in the AUS College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) within the Department of International Studies, the course surveys the political underpinnings of Arab art in the 20th century, and the socio-political conditions that shaped cultural production in the region. The course is a combination of lectures, seminar discussions, and student presentations and participation. Its curriculum delves into topics such as the commodification of art, its significance as a form of “soft power,” its role as a political instrument and a tool for resistance, exploration of gender in Arab art, ethical considerations in art and cultural heritage preservation, and several other aspects, equipping the students with the skills to engage in discussions on various dimensions of contemporary Arab art.
“It's a privilege to be teaching at American University of Sharjah, which is a world-class hub for learning and knowledge production. The quality of students that I have encountered here is second to none. I want to thank Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi for giving me the chance to give back to my own community through this preeminent institution,” said Al-Qassemi.
Al-Qassemi is a UAE-born writer, lecturer and researcher in the fields of art, architecture and politics in the Arab world. He has previously taught as an adjunct professor at Dubai Men’s College, Higher Colleges of Technology, where he taught entrepreneurship and Middle Eastern history.
He was a non-resident Fellow of the Dubai School of Government (now Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government) and the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. He taught Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art at New York University, Yale University, Georgetown University, Boston College, The American University in Paris, Sciences Po, Bard College in Berlin and at The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
He also delivered lectures and seminars at the London School of Economics, Cambridge University, Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and Ford School of Diplomacy at the University of Michigan, among others.
In the Spring of 2017, Al-Qassemi was a practitioner in residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University. In 2018, he became a Yale Greenberg World Fellow and a lecturer at the Council of Middle East Studies at Yale University. He is also a regular columnist on issues of contemporary and modern politics and culture in the Arab world. In 2023, Al-Qassemi joined the AUS Board of Trustees.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi to AUS, where he will share his profound insights and expertise with our students. As a distinguished figure in the fields of art, architecture and politics in the Arab world, his course promises to be an enriching experience for our students. This opportunity highlights the academic excellence of our institution and reinforces our commitment to providing students with a diverse and globally informed education. We look forward to the positive impact he and the course will have on our students,” said Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of CAS.
As the main driver of the liberal arts education at AUS, the College of Arts and Sciences offers students a comprehensive range of programs that delve into various facets of arts, sciences and humanities, fostering interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking. Students benefit from a dynamic and innovative curriculum, engaging in courses that explore the intersections of culture, society and the sciences. It is a stimulating and transformative environment for intellectual growth, encouraging students to participate in discussions, research projects and creative endeavors. The college’s focus is graduating well-rounded individuals equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of a globalized world.
To learn more about the AUS College of Arts and Sciences, visit www.aus.edu/cas.