I am an assistant professor of art history in the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where I teach courses on the art and architecture of the Islamic world. I hold a PhD in art history from Binghamton University, State University of New York, an MA in Art Criticism & Theory from Art Center College of Design, and a BFA in graphic design from the American University of Beirut. My research interests include:
Arabic book + print culture | 19th-century Islamic art + architecture | history of reading + publishing | the collection, exhibition, and display of Islamic art | studies of modernity, orientalism + global networks of exchange | cultural history in the Ottoman world | global art historiographies | history of modern science in the Islamic world
My book Printing Arab Modernity: Book Culture and the American Press in Nineteenth-Century Beirut (Leiden: Brill, 2016) examines the American Protestant mission’s Arabic publications printed in Beirut for Ottoman readers during a period dominated by Islamic and Christian manuscript practices. The book also explores the growing significance of the visual dimensions of print technologies for such audiences, specifically how print reflected a push-pull dynamic between the continuity of scribal customs and an experimentation with new technologies, which was indicative of a moment when local intellectuals were formulating a visual language that negotiated their varied communal concerns, political motivations, and intellectual conceptions of a modern society.
At AUB, one of my current projects is Portraiture: Beyond Resemblance, which is a unique research and pedagogical collaboration with my art history colleagues, Joseph Hammond and Rico Franses, and our students in the Department of Fine Arts and Art History that will be launched in Spring 2018. Through co-taught course lectures and assignments in AHIS 204-Medieval Art, AHIS 207-Early Islamic Art and Architecture, and AHIS 208-Italian Renaissance Art, and public lectures and events, including an exhibition at Jafet Library, this project will explore different aspects of portraiture, in its various formats, beyond the questions of resemblance in order to consider the socio-political implications of this art form across temporal and spatial boundaries, with a particular emphasis on interactions between European and Islamic societies. Learn more about this project here.
I am also working on a new book project, entitled Rational Images: Visualizing Modern Science during the Nineteenth-Century Arab Renaissance, which examines the visuality of art, manuscripts, and everyday print culture that were used to promote, popularize, and debate modern scientific inquiry and knowledge production by Arab communities of the Ottoman world during the long 19th century.