The Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA) is a private, non-profit, non-political organization whose purpose is to promote the study and teaching of the art, architecture and archaeology of Islamic cultures and to facilitate communication and cooperation among those engaged in scholarly and other professional activities related to these fields. Established in 1982 as the North American Historians of Islamic Art (NAHIA), the organization has since grown into an international group with members in the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia and Europe. In 1996, the name was changed to Historians of Islamic Art (HIA) to reflect the broader objectives of the organization and its efforts to foster cooperation with colleagues beyond North America. In 2006 the organization became an unincorporated association under the laws of the state of New York, and the name expanded to Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA). The Articles of Association may be viewed here.
To fulfill its objectives and promote its goals, HIAA holds a periodic Majlis (gathering) in conjunction with the annual meetings of affiliated professional associations, most often the College Art Association (CAA) and Middle East Studies Association (MESA). At these gatherings members present short papers on current research and participate in HIAA’s annual business meeting. In 2008 the association launched a series of biennial symposia, held over several days, designed to encourage in-depth discussion of themes and issues relevant to the study of Islamic arts and cultures today. The inaugural Biennial Symposium, on the theme of “Spaces & Visions,” took place at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in October 2008, and the Second Biennial Symposium, on the theme of “Objects, Collections and Cultures,” at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., in October 2010. Both conferences involved international participation, attracted large audiences, and stimulated lively debate. The series continued with the Third Biennial Symposium, “Looking Widely, Looking Closely,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in October 2012 and the Fourth Biennial Symposium, "Forms of Knowledge and Cultures of Learning" at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto in October 2014. For the conference programs and abstracts, click here.
To encourage scholarly contributions to the fields of Islamic art, architecture and archaeology, particularly by our junior members, HIAA also awards various competitive prizes: the Margaret B. Ševčenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture, for the best unpublished article written by a junior scholar; and the Grabar Grants and Fellowships, a new program, supported by the Oleg Grabar Memorial Fund, intended to further research and assist participation in scholarly meetings.
HIAA’s website provides information of professional interest about conferences and other scholarly programs, calls for participation and contribution, opportunities (jobs, fellowships, grants), online resources, exhibitions and publications
In addition, HIAA is affiliated with an active, public listserv – H-ISLAMART – sponsored by H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences Online). Click here to learn more.
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