Visiting Doctoral Fellow
Sarah Sabban is a doctoral candidate in the Arab and Middle Eastern History program at the American University of Beirut. Before that, she earned a Master of Studies in Islamic art and archaeology (University of Oxford) and a Master of Arts in anthropology (AUB). Her research interests include modern Middle Eastern history with a focus on intellectual history and material culture, anthropology of art and museums, and Islamic art and its historiography.
A History of Arts and Crafts in Late Ottoman Beirut
My dissertation project explores the history of arts and crafts in late Ottoman Beirut in the context of the Empire’s integration into the world-economy and the dissemination of the modern Western episteme that distinguished “art” from “craft.” Positing the crafts as local artistic traditions embodying accumulated technical skills and shared cultural values, my work problematizes their easy dismissal from the canons of art history as well as Arab social and intellectual history of the late Ottoman period. The historical analysis I propose traces the discursive formation of the crafts within a particular constellation of concepts and examines practical initiatives to reform and redress artisanal production in Ottoman Beirut.
“Imagining Lebanon with Islamic Art: The 1974 Exhibition at the Nicolas Sursock Museum,” Regards (forthcoming, Autumn 2022).
“Notes from the Field: Chancing upon the Archives of a Beiruti Patron of the Arts,” Historians of Islamic Art Association Newsletter (Winter Issue, January 8, 2021): 9-11.
“Invitation au musée d'Art Islamique,” QANTARA. L’Orient Créé par l’Orient 80 (2011).