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The Imprisonment of Zahhak (detail), folio from the Shahname of Shah Tahmasp . 1535. Iran. Learn more. 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.

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Call for Papers

The submission deadline for pre-organized panels and single papers is December 1, 2019. For single papers, please submit as a single attachment a one-page CV and a paper abstract of no more than 250 words. For pre-organized panels (three or four papers), please submit as a single attachment one-page CVs for all speakers, and the panel abstract and individual abstracts, each no more than 250 words.

Please submit panels and papers to Christiane Gruber, Organizer (cjgruber@umich.edu). All other queries may be directed to Bihter Esener, Managing Organizer (besener@umich.edu).

Accepted speakers must be HIAA members in good standing by the time of the symposium. Speakers will have their travel expenses and accommodation covered by the University of Michigan and HIAA.

The 2021 HIAA Symposium Committee: 

Christiane Gruber, organizer

Bihter Esener, managing organizer

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


  • 04.15.21

  • 15:00–15:45

    Registration Opens


  • 15:45–16:00


    Welcome Remarks

    Christiane Gruber, Professor and Chair, History of Art Department, University of Michigan, and President-Elect, Historians of Islamic Art Association
  • 16:00–18:00


    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
  • 18:00–19:30


    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
  • 19:30–21:30



  • 04.16.21

  • 08:30–10:00


    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, and Editor, H-Islamart
  • 10:00–10:30

    Coffee Break

  • 10:30–12:00


    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, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bern
    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
  • 12:00–13:45

    Lunch Break

  • 13:45–14:00


    In Memoriam: Esin Atıl

    Marianna Shreve Simpson, Research Associate, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  • 14:00–15:00


    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
  • 15:00–15:30

    Coffee Break

  • 15:30–17:00


    Political Transformations through Architectural Interventions in Islamic South Asia

    Ross Lee Bernhaut, Ph.D. student, University of Michigan
    Babur and the Transformation of Gwalior’s Rock-Hewn Tirthankara
    Mohit Manohar, Ph.D. candidate, Yale University
    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
  • 17:00–17:30

    Coffee Break

  • 17:30–19:00


    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
  • 04.17.21

  • 08:30–10:30


    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
    Keeping Up Appearances: Later Qur’ans from al-Andalus
    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
  • 10:30–11:00

    Coffee Break

  • 11:00–13:00


    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
  • 13:00–14:30

    Lunch Break

  • 14:30–16:30


    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
  • 16:30–17:00

    Coffee Break

  • 17:00–19:00


    Fragments, Relics, Rubble, Memory

    Igor Demchenko, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University
    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, Porter Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard 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
  • 19:00–19:15


    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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