The Constellation of Egyptian Modernism
This introduction defines the new term “constellational modernism” to describe Egyptian modern art. As opposed to the vagueness of global and the restrictive idea of transnational, constellational explains the finite nature of Egyptian modernism’s connection abroad as well as the way artists visualize these connections in their artwork. Second, Seggerman discusses the role of Islam in this constellation. These artists and artworks acknowledge Islam (as an idea and as a practice), but they refuse to be defined by it. Third, Seggerman positions Egyptian modernism as part of the rich intellectual framework of the Nahda movement, meaning that these cultural producers were deeply embedded within a wider movement that grappled with ideas of modernity, modernization, tradition, colonialism, and postcolonialism. Lastly, Seggerman defines what modern, modernity, and modernism mean in the context of this book. These redefinitions destabilize the ideas of both a singular modernity and easy plural modernities, and instead pinpointing the overlapping and dyssynchronous connections within a constellation of modernisms.
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