Lecturer Heritage Theory
Mirjam Shatanawi is lecturer of heritage theory at the Reinwardt Academy since 2018. She was trained in African/Asian history at the School of Oriental and African Studies (MA, University of London) and Arabic Language and Culture from the University of Amsterdam (MA). She acquired her PhD (with distinction) from the University of Amsterdam as well.
She is interested in the history of museums and colonial collections, and in particular how Islam has been 'framed' over time. Her PhD thesis examines the silences surrounding Indonesian Islam in museums in the Netherlands. Drawing on a diverse body of archival sources, she demonstrated that the minor role allocated to Indonesian Islam can be traced to Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia and a number of interlinked colonial-period conceptions that made Indonesian Islamic art as a museological notion inviable. Her book Islam in the Tropenmuseum (2014) is a critical analysis of the history of the Islamic collections at the Tropenmuseum. She is co-editor of Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities (2021, with Katarzyna Puzon and Sharon Macdonald).
From 2001 to 2019 she worked as a curator for several museums. In 2004, she became curator Middle East and North Africa at the Tropenmuseum. When the museum merged in 2014 with the Museum of Ethnology in Leiden and the Africa Museum in Nijmegen, and later the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam, the collections and exhibitions under her care expanded substantially. She curated several exhibitions for these museums, including The Sixties: A worldwide happening, Escher Meets Islamic Art, Palestine 1948 and Urban Islam.
Previously, she held various board and advisory positions, including at the Council for Culture, the Mondriaan Fund, MTNL and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts. She is currently a member of the Supervisory Board of Framer Framed.