Resources & Publications

  • Podcast

    Jerba: An Island in Time, with Prof. Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania

    Ottoman History Podcast--For the first time on the podcast, we discuss the role of archaeology and its potential to contribute to our knowledge of the Ottoman world. More specifically, we explore how the field of landscape archaeology can offer a better understanding of how different factors of religion, politics, and culture impacted the manipulation of territory over millenia. The large-scale examination of material culture and vernacular architecture in a rural setting particularly has the potential to fill in the gaps of the historical archive, providing information about communities that otherwise remain relatively unknown. In this episode, we speak with Renata Holod, who co-directed a multi-year archaeological and architectural survey of the island of Jerba, off the coast of Tunisia. Our conversation not only explains the techniques and methodologies deployed during the project, but also ranges to wider reflections on the different ways the arrival of the Ottomans on the island can be read in the landscape itself.

  • Book

    The Album of the World Emperor: Cross-Cultural Collecting and the Art of Album-Making in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul, by Emine Fetvacı

    The Album of the World Emperor examines an extraordinary piece of art: an album of paintings, drawings, calligraphy, and European prints compiled for the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–17) by his courtier Kalender Paşa (d. 1616). In this detailed study of one of the most important works of seventeenth-century Ottoman art, Emine Fetvacı uses the album to explore questions of style, iconography, foreign inspiration, and the very meaning of the visual arts in the Islamic world.

  • Website

    Condemn Trump’s threat to Iran’s cultural heritage | Iran | The Guardian

    Academic researchers of Iranian history, archaeology, art and culture, based in national museums and universities across the world, react in horror to the US president’s threat to target Iranian sites

  • Book

    The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice, by Heghnar Watenpaugh

    In 2010, the world's wealthiest art institution, the J. Paul Getty Museum, found itself confronted by a century-old genocide. The Armenian Church was suing for the return of eight pages from the Zeytun Gospels, a manuscript illuminated by the greatest medieval Armenian artist, Toros Roslin. Protected for centuries in a remote church, the holy manuscript had followed the waves of displaced people exterminated during the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the confusion and brutality of the First World War, it was cleaved in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty.

    The Missing Pages is the biography of a manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. Its tale mirrors the story of its scattered community as Armenians have struggled to redefine themselves after genocide and in the absence of a homeland. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh follows in the manuscript's footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom.

    Reconstructing the path of the pages, Watenpaugh uncovers the rich tapestry of an extraordinary artwork and the people touched by it. At once a story of genocide and survival, of unimaginable loss and resilience, The Missing Pages captures the human costs of war and persuasively makes the case for a human right to art.

  • Book

    Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia: The Fabric of Life, by Fahmida Suleman

    A beautifully illustrated exploration of the textile traditions of a culturally diverse region, from the late eighteenth century to the present day, featuring works from the extraordinary textile collection at the British Museum

    Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia explores the significance and beauty of textiles from across the Middle East, Turkey, and Central Asia. This vast region has been the focus of population movements, exploration, and trade for thousands of years and is home to a wealth of textile traditions. From the intricate embroidery on a Palestinian wedding dress to the complex iconography on an Afghan war rug, textiles reflect the beliefs, practices, and experiences of people from these lands.

    The book is arranged thematically with pieces grouped according to their purpose or meaning, enabling, for example, the comparison of domestic furnishings, wedding attire, and children’s garments from across the region. The book also includes contemporary works that grapple with modern political issues.

    The textiles featured include male and female garments, hats and headdresses, rugs and felts, children’s clothing, dolls, tent hangings, amulets and animal harnesses. Focusing on the British Museum’s remarkable collection, Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia offers a wealth of creative inspiration and will be essential reading for anyone interested in textiles and the cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia.

    200 illustrations in color and black and white

  • Book

    The Islamic World : A History in Objects, by Ladan Akbarnia, Venetia Porter, Fahmida Suleman, William Greenwood, Zeina Klink-Hoppe, Amandine Merat

    This illustrated introduction offers a fresh approach to the history of the Islamic world from its origins to the present day. Told in six chapters, arranged both chronologically and thematically, and richly enhanced with outstanding images, it provides an illuminating insight into the material culture produced from West Africa to Southeast Asia through art and artifacts, people and places. From pre-Islamic works that provided a foundation for the arts of Islam to masterpieces produced under the great empires and objects that continue to be made today, this expansive survey traces the development of civilizations at the forefront of philosophical and scientific ideas, artistic and literary developments, and technological innovations, exploring a wealth of cultural treasures along the way. Texts are accompanied by a wide variety of objects, including architectural decoration, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, calligraphy, textiles, musical instruments, coins, illustrated manuscripts, and modern and contemporary art, all of which shed new light on the Islamic world both past and present. This book will inspire and inform anyone interested in one of the most influential and diverse cultures of the world. Table of Contents Introduction • 1. A history of histories • 2. Belief and practice • 3. Interconnected worlds (750–1500) • 4. The age of empires (1500–1900) • 5. Literary and musical traditions • 6. The modern world • 7. Glossary • 8. Selected bibliography • 9. Acknowledgements • 10. Credits • 11. Index

  • Website

    The British Museum's New Website for the Islamic Gallery

    The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world Rooms 42-43

    represents an exciting new vision, displayed across two magnificent refurbished galleries at the heart of the British Museum. The British Museum’s Islamic collection comprises a broad and diverse spectrum of the material culture produced from the seventh century to the present day in the Islamic world, a series of regions stretching from West Africa to Southeast Asia. From archaeological material to contemporary art, from the paintings and vessels made for royal patrons to the evocative objects of daily life, this new Gallery brings together the stories of interconnected worlds across time and geography.

    To learn more about the collection, see the following recent publications: 

    * Akbarnia, L., V. Porter, F. Suleman, et al. The Islamic World : A History in Objects, London: Thames & Hudson, 2018

    * The Making of the Albukhary Gallery of the Islamic World, London: The British Museum, 2018 

    * Suleman, Fahmida. The Fabric of Life: Textiles from the Middle East and Central Asia. London: British Museum Press, 2017

  • Book

    Modernism on the Nile: Art in Egypt between the Islamic and the Contemporary by Alex Dika Seggerman

    Modernism on the Nile

    Art in Egypt between the Islamic and the Contemporary

    Alex Dika Seggerman


    Analyzing the modernist art movement that arose in Cairo and Alexandria from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s, Alex Dika Seggerman reveals how the visual arts were part of a multifaceted transnational modernism.  While the work of diverse, major Egyptian artists during this era may have appeared to be secular, she argues, it reflected the subtle but essential inflection of Islam, as a faith, history, and lived experience, in the overarching development of Middle Eastern modernity.


    Challenging typical views of modernism in art history as solely Euro-American, and expanding the conventional periodization of Islamic art history, Seggerman theorizes a “constellational modernism” for the emerging field of global modernism. Rather than seeing modernism in a generalized, hyperconnected network, she finds that art and artists circulated in distinct constellations that encompassed finite local and transnational relations. Such constellations, which could engage visual systems both along and beyond the Nile, from Los Angeles to Delhi, were materialized in visual culture that ranged from oil paintings and sculpture to photography and prints. Based on extensive research in Egypt, Europe, and the United States, this richly illustrated book poses a compelling argument for the importance of Muslim networks to global modernism.


    “Crafting the concept of constellational to chart the evolution of modern art in Egypt, Seggerman reconciles the seemingly antagonistic notions of Islamic and modern in art history.  Analyzing a selection of preeminent artists’ work, she boldly constructs a nuanced approach to interpreting not only modern Egyptian art but potentially all modern art movements in countries with a living Islamic heritage.”

    Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    296 pages, 24 color plates., 74 halftones  $34.95  hardcover

    Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks

  • Book

    Journey to the City A Companion to the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum, eds. Steve Tinney and Karen Sonik

    The Penn Museum has a long and storied history of research and archaeological exploration in the ancient Middle East. This book highlights this rich depth of knowledge while also serving as a companion volume to the Museum's signature Middle East Galleries opening in April 2018. This edited volume includes chapters and integrated short, focused pieces from Museum curators and staff actively involved in the detailed planning of the new galleries. In addition to highlighting the most remarkable and interesting objects in the Museum's extraordinary Middle East collections, this volume illuminates the primary themes within these galleries (make, settle, connect, organize, and believe) and provides a larger context within which to understand them.

    The ancient Middle East is home to the first urban settlements in human history, dating to the fourth millennium BCE; therefore, tracing this move toward city life figures prominently in the book. The topic of urbanization, how it came about and how these early steps still impact our daily lives, is explored from regional and localized perspectives, bringing us from Mesopotamia (Ur, Uruk, and Nippur) to Islamic and Persianate cites (Rayy and Isfahan) and, finally, connecting back to life in modern Philadelphia. Through examination of topics such as landscape, resources, trade, religious belief and burial practices, daily life, and nomads, this very important human journey is investigated both broadly and with specific case studies.

  • Book

    The Image Debate: Figural Representation in Islam and Across the World (ed. Christiane Gruber)

    The Image Debate is a collection of thirteen essays that examine the controversy surrounding the use of images in Islamic and other religious cultures and seek to redress some of the misunderstandings that have arisen.  
    Table of Contents: Stefano Carboni – Foreword Christiane Gruber – Idols and Figural Images in Islam: A Brief Dive into a Perennial Debate  
    Part 1: Pre-Modern Islam Mika Natif –  ‘Painters Will Be Punished’: The Politics of Figural Representation Amongst the Umayyads Finbarr Barry Flood – Signs of Silence: Epigraphic Erasure and the Image of the Word Oya Pancaroğlu – Conditions of Love and Conventions of Representation in the Illustrated Manuscript of Varqa and Gulshah  
    Part 2: Beyond the Islamic world Alicia Walker – Iconomachy in Byzantium Steven Fine – The Image in Jewish Art Michael Shenkar – Religious Imagery and Image-Making in pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia Robert Decaroli – Conspicuous Absences: The Avoidance and Use of Images in Early South Asian Art  
    Part 3: Modern and Contemporary Islam Yousuf Saeed – The Figural Image in Islamic Devotional Art of the Indian Subcontinent James Bennett – The Shadow Puppet: A South-East Asian Islamic Aesthetic Allen F. Roberts and Mary Nooter Roberts – Enigma and Purpose: Visual Hagiographies of Urban Senegal Rose Issa – Figures of Protest in Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art Shiva Balaghi – Only for My Shadow: Figuration in Contemporary Iranian Art

Submit resources and publications

Please submit resources to the HIAA webmaster including the resource name and type, and several sentences about its nature, and a link to further information.