In an attempt to analyze the link between objects, their representation and the “truths” they convey, Malik Ajani, an AKU-ISMC alumnus recently published a paper in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science entitled, Objects, Knowledge and Representation: A glimpse into the rhetorical discourse of the British Museum. Ajani’s article extends from a paper at a conference on ‘representing’ Islam at the University of Manchester in September 2008.
Malik Ajani, a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, graduated from the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in 2008 with a MA in Muslim Cultures.
Each year, thousands of British students are led by their teachers to take a trip to the museum. Founded in London (1753), the British Museum articulates a pedagogical motive, where the institution claims “to advance understanding of the cultures” it represents. Upon reading this, one could naturally inquire, what kind of understanding of cultures is represented within the discourse of such institutions? By critically investigating such a discourse, I aim to understand the relationship between objects, their representation, and a variety of truth-knowledge-power relations, carried and projected on the visitor. Such a discourse is wide. Thus, the scope of this article takes a glimpse into the discourse associated to the British Museum, with one focal point being its exhibit of The Islamic World.
Mr Sohail Merchant