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Shamoon Zamir, associate professor of literature and visual studies, is working on many fronts to develop Akkasah: Center for Photography at NYU Abu Dhabi, a research archive that is gathering vernacular and documentary images dating back to the 19th century from around the Middle East and North Africa.
The history of photography has until very recently focused on the European and American traditions, says Shamoon Zamir. But that's changing rapidly now, and a major conference at NYU Abu Dhabi in March will contribute to that change.
Shamoon Zamir's new book, The Gift of the Face: Portraiture and Time in Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian, offers a reconsideration of the most influential photographic record of the Native Americans of the United States. Curtis dedicated himself to the project for 25 years, during which time he took more than 40,000 photographs.
Gamma ray spiders from outer space. Android apps that survey farms. Collaborations between human and non-human animals. The first annual NYU Abu Dhabi Research Conference showcased the diversity of academic work that is happening at the University by bringing together over 110 students and faculty from the Abu Dhabi and New York campuses. The three-day event featured talks, musical performances, and poster presentations.
"In one sense, all of my work so far has been about forms of cross-cultural encounter," said Shamoon Zamir, NYU Abu Dhabi associate professor of Literature and Visual Studies. Indeed, for the past 30 or so years, this has been his primary academic focus. An Americanist working in the areas of literature, photography, and intellectual history, Zamir turned to cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural studies after studying with Professor Eric Mottram, a pioneer of American studies at the University of London and a key figure in the experimental poetry scene in the UK.