East++, Institute for New Artistic Inquiry is a para-institutional formation that focuses on alternative art and culture from the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and diasporic and indigenous cultures in the US, established at Purchase College in 2018. East++ is the first of its kind in an American university; it is an artistic research platform, an alternative think-tank, where artists, social scientists, and curators work on contemporary strategies to foster new discourses and actions to deal with fundamentalism(s), nationalism(s), and xenophobia.
Due to ongoing wars, sectarian conflicts, authoritarian regimes and refugee crises, there has been a continuing academic interest in geographies broadly defined by countries which have a Muslim majority population. When it comes to the Middle East, North Africa, or Southeast Asia, universities, research centers, and think-tanks usually focus on urgent issues, such as wars, conflicts, security, politics, ethnic and sectarian divides, which often undermine democratic, secular and heterodox histories as well as contemporary artistic articulations.
East++ is a cross-cultural initiative which takes a constitutive approach to identify and support diverse contemporary artistic and cultural practices. Through its multifaceted geography oriented programming and cross-cultural projects, East++ is a stage for international collaboration, artistic research, and organization.