Specialist in Islamic Architecture and Culture to Lecture at U.Va. School of Architecture

February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012 — Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Nasser D. Khalili Professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, will give the annual Harry W. Porter Jr. Visiting Professor Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.

Behrens-Abouseif's lecture, "Memory and Architecture in Premodern Islamic Culture," will discuss how the monument and the book have been viewed since ancient times as rivals in commemorating cultures and patrons, and how this notion continued to persist and be cultivated with new ideas in medieval Islamic culture, where it also had a significant impact on Islamic architecture.

Behrens-Abouseif received her master's in Islamic art from the American University in Cairo and her Ph.D. at the University in Hamburg in Germany, and she did post-doctoral studies at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

She is a specialist in Mamluk and Ottoman arts of Egypt and Syria and in social history. Her research interests include urbanism and the history of waqf, part of Islamic law which dedicates a building or land for Muslim or charitable purposes; Islamic cultural history and concepts of aesthetics; the decorative arts of Islam; and later Islamic painting. More recently, her research has been focused on the reception of pre-Islamic monuments in Islamic culture and on Islamic concepts of urbanism, arts and aesthetics.

Her publications include articles about Islamic architecture and urbanism, cultural history and concepts of aesthetics and decorative arts. She is the author of "The Minarets of Cairo" (London/Cairo 2010); "Cairo of the Mamluks" (London/Cairo 2007); "Beauty in Arabic Culture" (Princeton 1999); and "Egypt's Adjustment to Ottoman Rule" (Leiden/New York/Köln 1994).

Before joining the University of London faculty in 2000, Behrens-Abouseif taught Islamic art at the American University in Cairo and at the universities of Freiburg and Munich. She also was a visiting professor at Harvard University, the universities of Berlin and Bamberg in Germany and the University of Leuven in Belgium. She is member of the Academia Europaea.

This is the first of two lectures to be given by Behrens-Abouseif during her tenure as Porter Visiting Professor in Architectural History this spring semester. The second lecture is scheduled for April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.

The Harry W. Porter Jr. Distinguished Visiting Professorship was established at the School of Architecture in honor of Harry W. Porter Jr., former dean of the school, architect for the University and founder of the program in landscape architecture. His career at the University spanned a quarter-century, from 1969 to his retirement in 1994. He died in 2011.

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