East++ Institute for New Artistic Inquiry

East++ is a new institution founded by Hakan Topal, that focuses on alternative art and culture from the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and diasporic and indigenous cultures in the US, which was established at Purchase College at the beginning of 2018. East++ is the first of its kind in an American university, an artistic research platform, an alternative think-tank, where we work on novel strategies to foster new discourses, beyond prepackaged stereotypes, and cultural silos. 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, wars, conflicts, security, politics, ethnic and sectarian divides, which often undermines 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 programming and cross-cultural projects, East++ will be a stage for international collaboration.