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Symposium Committee
Regime Change
The Imprisonment of Zahhak (detail), folio from the Shahname of Shah Tahmasp 1535 Iran Aga Khan Museum, AKM 155

2021 Biennial Symposium

Regime Change

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor

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How do we write histories of Islamic art and architecture, and in the service of what interests? We might proceed from questions about the intentions of patrons, the agency of craftsmen, and their responses to previous artistic production, thereby allowing artifacts and monuments to be set within a historical, social, and/or artistic context. We might also posit large-scale organizational forms—dynasties, courts, regimes, workshops, technological systems, and exchange circuits—as frames that regulate aspects of life, belief, and ultimately artistic creativity. Recent scholarship has also shifted focus to other forms of agency. For example, “reception history” and the “history of objects” have attempted to move beyond the process of creation to consider the role of later actors and material accretions for the significance of artifacts, while the "material turn" in art history has sought to challenge rigidly anthropocentric epistemologies and open up narratives told by the “stuff” of art.

The aim of this conference is to focus on moments of “regime change” in Islamic art history and to also direct attention to “regimes” that structure our own field, raising questions of interpretation and method. We invite new research focusing on art and architecture after clear political ruptures (e.g., invasion, occupation, conversion); on the replacement of one symbolic order with another (e.g., public inscriptions in the urban space, changes in sartorial codes, new gender norms); and on the transfer of resources (e.g., artists, objects, libraries, treasuries) from one power to another. We also invite panels and papers that explore the potentials and pitfalls of new interpretive and methodological approaches to core questions about objects, material, and images, in both the academy and the museum.

The official symposium hashtag is:


The 2021 HIAA Symposium Committee: 

Christiane Gruber, organizer

Bihter Esener, managing organizer

Anneka Lenssen, Michael Chagnon, and Alain George, committee members





Welcome Remarks

Christiane Gruber, Professor and Chair, History of Art Department, University of Michigan, and President-Elect, Historians of Islamic Art Association



Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC) Distinguished Lecture

Kishwar Rizvi, Professor, Yale University, and President, Historians of Islamic Art Association

Stefan Weber, Director, Museum for Islamic Art, Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Pulling the Past into the Present: Curating Islamic Art in a Changing World





Communicating Islamic Art History

Nancy Um, Professor, Binghamton University
Islamic Art History and its Networks

Ladan Akbarnia, Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, The San Diego Museum of Art
“In Two Rooms, A Universe”: Communicating Islamic Visual Culture to a Museum Audience

Stephennie Mulder, Associate Professor, University of Texas, Austin
Toward a Global Islamic Art for an Interconnected World

Wendy M. K. Shaw, Professor, Free University, Berlin
Islamic Perceptual Culture: Towards Another Episteme

Discussant: Mika Natif, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies,The George Washington University




Craft and its Potentials: Histories from Below and Beside

Margaret S. Graves, Associate Professor, Indiana University
Objects-in-the-Negative, or, the Presence of Absence: Pre-modern Molds and Craft Narratives

Amanda Philips, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
Art History from Below and Outside: Silk Velvet and Cotton Double-Cloth

Jessica Hallet, Curator of Early Modern Middle East, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Outside the Gallery of Masterpieces: Calouste Gulbenkian’s Embroideries, a Tale of Turbulence

Discussant: Ruba Kana‘an, Assistant Professor, The University of Toronto, Mississauga





Political Transformations through Architectural Interventions in Islamic South Asia

Ross Lee Bernhaut, Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan
Babur and the Transformation of Gwalior’s Rock-Hewn Tirthankara

Mohit Manohar, Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA)
The Earliest Mosques of Regime Change in the Deccan

Pushkar Sohoni, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
Domes on a Medieval Temple at Anwa: Continuities in Construction Methods Across Deccani Political Formations

Discussant: Chanchal B. Dadlani, Associate Professor, Wake Forest University





In Memoriam: Esin Atıl

Marianna Shreve Simpson, Research Associate, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania



The Labor of Names: Signatures and Artistic Practice

Lamia Balafrej, Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
On Signature, Labor, and Authorship in Medieval and Early Modern Islam

Corinne Mühlemann, Marie Skłodowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
The Weaver’s Signature? The Division of Labor in the Production of Lampas Woven Silks

Fatima Quraishi, Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside
Signatures in Stone: Names, Prefixes, and Design Methods at the Makli Necropolis

Discussant: Marianna Shreve Simpson, Research Associate, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania





Information Session with the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT: New Material and Updates to Archnet

Michael Toler, Interim Program Head and Archnet Content Manager, Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT

Matt Saba, Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Architecture, Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT

Betsy Baldwin, Collections Archivist, Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT




Looking at the Margins: A Perspective Change in the Study of Qur’an Manuscripts

Dmitry Bondarev, Head of West Africa Research Projects, University of Hamburg
Shifting Regimes, Reshaping Manuscripts: Qur’an Production in the Borno Sultanate

Umberto Bongianino, Lecturer in Islamic Art and Architecture, University of Oxford
The Re-endowment of Almohad Qurʾāns under the Early Marinids (circa 1269-1300 CE)

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator for Southeast Asia, The British Library
Migrating Manuscript Art: ‘Sulawesi Diaspora’ Styles of Qur’anic Illumination

Alya Karame, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, The American University of Beirut
From Listener to Reader: The Qur’an’s Practice in the 11th Century CE

Discussant: Evyn Kropf, Curator, Islamic Manuscripts Collection, and Librarian for Middle Eastern & North African Studies and Religious Studies, University of Michigan





Islamic Art and Architecture in sub-Saharan Africa: Transcultural Dynamics in the Global Fourteenth Century

Raymond Silverman, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan
Mamluk Metalwork in West Africa: Material Dialogues in the Fourteenth Century

Abidemi Babatunde Babalola, Smuts Postdoctoral Fellow, Center of African Studies, University of Cambridge
Glocalization, Material Culture, Innovation, and Exchange in Pre/Fourteenth-Century West Africa

Timothy Insoll, Al-Qasimi Professor of African and Islamic Archaeology, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
The Fourteenth Century: An Archaeological Perspective from Islamic Eastern Ethiopia

Vera-Simone Schulz, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Islamic Art and Architecture along the Swahili Coast: Connectivity, Transcultural Entanglements, and Aesthetic Choices in the Global Fourteenth Century

Discussant: Ashley Miller, Forsyth Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan





New Regimes of Perception in Early Modern Iran

Michael Chagnon, Curator, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto
The Ontology of a Kerman Vase: Thing and Image in Early Modern Iran

Farshid Emami, Assistant Professor, Rice University
Sensing Time and Sound: Clocks and Rhythms of Life in Safavid Isfahan

Lisa Golombek, Curator Emerita, Royal Ontario Museum and Professor Emerita, University of Toronto
Points of Vision: Reception of a Late Safavid Tiled Arcade

Discussant: Kishwar Rizvi, Professor, Yale University, and President, Historians of Islamic Art Association




Fragments, Relics, Rubble, Memory

Igor Demchenko, Visiting Professor, Technical University of Darmstadt
Erased Heritage of the Golden Horde: Forgetting and Remembering in Russian/Soviet Historiography

Timur Hammond, Assistant Professor, Syracuse University
Index, Icon, Place: The Politics and Practices of Commemoration Following Turkey’s July 15, 2016 Coup Attempt

Michele Lamprakos and Alejandro Cañeque, Associate Professors, University of Maryland-College Park
Martyrs, Relics, and Muhammad’s Shinbone: De-Islamicizing the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba in the 16th Century

Mikael Muehlbauer, Core Lecturer in Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
From Stone to Dust: The Life of the Kufic Inscribed Frieze of Wuqro Cherqos in Tigray, Ethiopia

Discussant: Bernard O’Kane, Professor, The American University in Cairo





Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Regime Changes in Technologies and Media

Ulrich Marzolph, Retired Adjunct Professor, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Lithography and Its Impact on Persian Book Illustration in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Sabiha Göloğlu, Postdoctoral University Assistant, University of Vienna
Widening the Horizons of Mecca and Medina with Photographic Possibilities

Yasemin Gencer, Affiliate Scholar, Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University
Critical Mass: Photography and Ubiquity in 1920s-Turkish Media

Allen F. Roberts, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Visual Hagiographies of a Senegalese Sufi Saint

Discussant: Ashley Dimmig, Wieler-Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Islamic Art, The Walters Art Museum, and Editor, H-Islamart



Closing Remarks

Christiane Gruber, Professor and Chair, History of Art Department, University of Michigan, and President-Elect, Historians of Islamic Art Association


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