Jamila Maria Adeli

Institute for Asian and African Studies
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

E-mail: jamila.maria.adeli@hu-berlin.de
Phone: +49 1523 3635016

Personal website

De:link//Re:link Project:

Artistic de/constructions of cultural heritage and narratives in new silk road regions

Project Description

In my postdoc project titled “Artistic de/constructions of cultural heritage and narratives in new silk road regions“, I focus on analyzing the de/construction of narratives that re/activate the spirits of the „old and new silk roads“ as a common ground for historic and future dis/connectivities. As defined by Reeves (2004) and Jørgensen & Phillips (2002), narratives like the „old silk roads“ or the „Chinese Dream“ provide legitimate contexts and conditions for both new practices and the contestation of existing ones (Loh 2021).

I use the lens of art and artistic practices assuming that the processes and results of art production are means of trans/local and trans/regional knowledge production. Especially contemporary art and artistic practice like the curating of exhibitions need to be incorporated when investigating local re/actions to large scale infrastructures that are shaping pasts, realities and futures at various scales.

As artists and other cultural actors increasingly contribute to the de/construction of local and trans/regional narratives, experiences and imaginations, my main research questions are as follows: Which narratives concerning cultural politics and heritage both emerge and dissolve alongside the construction of the BRI? How do contemporary artists and curators reflect, react to and interact with the BRI, its cultural politics and both shared and common cultural heritage? What related knowledge is produced by artworks and exhibitions? And what is the function of art and artistic practices in constructing and deconstructing a new trans/regional order?


Reeves, J. (2004). Culture and International Relations. London: Routledge.

Jørgensen, M. and Phillips, L. (2002). Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. London: Sage.

Loh, D. M. H. (2021). The ‘Chinese Dream’ and the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’: narratives, practices, and sub-state actors. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific21(2), 167–199.


Research Interests


Jamila Adeli is specialized in contemporary fine arts and the sociology of art from and in the “Global South”, focusing on India and the UAE. She studied art history, film studies and English philology at Freie Universität Berlin and completed her doctorate in South Asian Studies in the cross-section Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region at Humboldt University of Berlin in 2019. Her dissertation titled Art, Market, Communication: The Contemporary Art World in India in Transition (2000-2018) analyzed various localization processes through the lens of the art market and art events infrastructures within the contemporary art world in India. Since 2007, Jamila Adeli has worked as a curator, coordinator and advisor for contemporary art in Berlin and abroad, including at the House of World Cultures (Berlin), the Museum of Asian Art (State Museums in Berlin), ifa – Institute for Cultural Relations, (Germany), Galerie Isa (Mumbai) and Museum Folkwang (Essen). She is currently living with her family in Munich.

Selected Publications