Slavs And Tatars, Molla Nasreddin: Embrace Your Antithesis

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Slavs And Tatars, Molla Nasreddin: Embrace Your Antithesis
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Asia Society Texas Center says
"We were struck by how relevant the subject matter of the satirical weekly remains a century later. The topics of the caricatures — women’s rights, Western interference, religious fundamentalism — are as urgent today as at the beginning of the twentieth century." (Slavs and Tatars)

Published until 1931, in the geo-political and religious hotbed of the Caucasus, Molla Nasreddin was a satirical Azerbaijani weekly periodical named after a legendary Sufi wise man-cum-fool of the Middle Ages. With an acerbic sense of humor and full of compelling, realist illustrations, Molla Nasreddin attacked the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy, the colonial policies of the United States and European nations, and the corruption of the local elite. Meanwhile it argued for Westernization, educational reform, and equal rights for women.

The magazine — full of jokes, parodies, and steady skewerings of traditional and elitist hypocrisy — became the most influential and perhaps first publication of its kind to be read across the Muslim world, from Morocco to India.

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April 13: Slavs and Tatars, 79.89.09

About Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars, founded in 2006, is an art collective whose work addresses the little-known affinities, syncretic ideas, belief systems, and language politics between the former Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China. Their work has been exhibited around the globe, from the Museum of Modern Art to the Istanbul Modern, the Vienna Secession to The Centre Pompidou.

About The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration across the performing, visual, and literary arts. Based at the University of Houston, the Mitchell Center commissions and produces new works, presents public performances and exhibitions, offers curriculum and scholarships, and hosts residencies with renowned visiting artists from throughout the world. The Center is home to the Mitchell Artist Lecture, an annual event featuring a pioneer in contemporary art-making, as well as CounterCurrent, an annual spring festival of new performance.

In 2011, Slavs and Tatars published Molla Nasreddin: the magazine that would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, a translation, reprinting, and examination of much of the magazine's most compelling pages and covers. In collaboration with University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts CounterCurrent Festival, this lecture-performance includes a discussion of the book's historical context, a case study of the complexity of the Caucasus, and the issue of self-censorship a century ago and today.
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By: Asia Society Texas Center

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