For Students

Symposium: Encounters with Islamic Art: Reception, Revival, and Response

In conjunction with Doris Duke's Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art, on view at UMMA from January 25 to May 4, 2014.

Symposium: Encounters with Islamic Art: Reception, Revival, and Response

When: Saturday, February 1, 10am–6pm

Where: UMMA's Helmut Stern Auditorium

This one-day symposium will accompany the exhibition of Doris Duke’s collection of Islamic art, which will be on display at the University of Michigan Museum of Art from January 25 - May 4, 2014. The show exhibits Islamic art of the pre-modern period along with its reception, collection, and revival during the 19th and 20th centuries. The symposium is organized around three panels—Museum Encounters, Architectural Encounters, and Greco-Balkan Encounters—and aims to shed further light on the many ways in which collectors, scholars, artists, and architects have encountered Islamic artistic traditions during the modern period. Speakers will explore how “Islamic” art was defined and received in both European (British, German, Greek, and Balkan) and American museum and academic contexts, as well as revived for a variety of nation-building purposes in Islamic lands today. Taken altogether, these presentations highlight how Islamic art—as a constructed scholarly discipline and corpus of selected objects—must be considered a global phenomenon that has been constructed through the efforts of various artistic entrepreneurs at the same time as it has been entangled in the cultural politics of Colonialism, Orientalism, and globalization over the course of the past two centuries.

This conference is organized by UMMA and U-M Associate Professor of Islamic Art Christiane Gruber. Her interests span the pre-modern to the contemporary, and include Islamic painting, book arts, calligraphy, architecture, and visual and material culture. She has conducted research in America, Europe, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran, and has taught Islamic art history at the University of Michigan, Indiana University, Humboldt University, and Sorbonne University.

For information on additional programs offered in conjunction with the Doris Duke, exhibition, please CLICK HERE. 



10am: Welcome Remarks, Christiane Gruber

10:15am: Greco-Balkan Encounters

Dr. George Manginis, Consultant, Benaki Museum, Athens; Paper Title: Appropriating Islamic Art in Modern Greece

Ashley Dimmig, Ph.D. student, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Paper Title: Orientalism, Sarmatism, and the Third Reich: The Afterlife of Ottoman Imperial Tents in Europe

Discussant: Christiane Gruber, Associate Professor, University of Michigan

12pm: Lunch Break

2pm: Museum Encounters

Dr. Moya Carey, Iran Heritage Foundation Curator for the Iranian Collections, Asian Department, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Paper Title: Buying into Iran: 19th-Century Acquisition Strategies at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Dr. Keelan Overton, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art & Architecture, Department of Art History, Portland State University, Portland, OR. Formerly Curator of Islamic Art, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Shangri La, Hawa’i. Paper Title: The Global Legacy of the Masjid-i Shah (Blessing or Curse?): The Recreation of Islamic Space and its Tile Revetment

Discussant: Ashley Miller, Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan

3:45pm: Tea Break in UMMA Commons

4:15pm: Architectural Encounters

Dr. Ulrich Marzolph, Professor of Islamic Studies, Göttingen University, Germany; Paper Title: Coffeehouses, Public Baths, and More: German Architecture in the Oriental Style

Dr. Kishwar Rizvi, Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture, Yale University, New Haven; Paper Title: A History of One's Own: Islamic Architecture in the Service of Nation Building

Discussant: Ünver Rüstem, Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University


More information about the symposium participants (in alpha order):

Appointed in 2009, Dr. Moya Carey is the Iran Heritage Foundation Curator for the Iranian Collections, in the Asia Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She received her doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in 2001. Her current research addresses Qajar Iran, with specific reference to the V&A's collecting histories in the late 19th century, whether commercial, aesthetic or imperialist in scope. Primarily, she is preparing a book on the V&A's role in instigating the export boom of Iranian carpets in the late 19th century, and the wider western reception of Middle Eastern carpets, either historic or of new manufacture, during the same period. Dr Carey is also working on the Mirza Akbar drawing series (an extensive portfolio of working drawings, architectural plans and sketches, dateable to 1840-1870, Tehran), a series of giant drawings replicating the designs in Safavid tilework (commissioned by the V&A in 1877), and the C.R. Smith Album, a small archive of photographs and correspondence relating to the carpet export industry in Sultanabad/Arak in 1901. She has also been working on Qajar metalwork, and the brief vogue for large brass figurines of peacocks.


After completing a Masters degree in Art History at Indiana University Bloomington, Ashley Dimmig went on to pursue a second Masters degree at Koç University in Istanbul, where her work largely focused on the art historical significance of Ottoman imperial textiles. In 2012, Dimmig began her PhD at the University of Michigan in the History of Art department, with a concentration on Islamic art and visual culture. Her interests include both Persian and Turkish early modern and modern visual culture, with a special emphasis on textile arts. 



Christiane Gruber’s primary field of research is Islamic book arts, paintings of the Prophet Muhammad, and Islamic ascension texts and images, about which she has written two books and edited a volume of articles. She also pursues research in Islamic book arts and codicology, having authored the online catalogue of Islamic calligraphies in the Library of Congress as well as edited the volume of articles, The Islamic Manuscript Tradition. Her third field of specialization is modern Islamic visual culture and post-revolutionary Iranian visual and material culture, about which she has written several articles. She also has co-edited two volumes on Islamic and cross-cultural visual cultures. She is currently writing her next book, titled The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images.


George Manginis received his BA in Archaeology at the University of Athens. He completed his MA and PhD (on the archaeology of Jabal Musa, Sinai) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. Since 2001 George has been teaching Theory of Art History and Archaeology, Early Islamic and Ottoman Architecture and Chinese Ceramics for SOAS, the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art (British Museum and SOAS), the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art – Qatar, the Benaki Museum – Athens, and other institutions. In 2012-3 he was a SOAS Senior Teaching Fellow on Islamic Art and Architecture and in summer 2013 he undertook a Stanley J. Seeger Fellowship at Princeton University. In Michaelmas 2014 he will join the New College for the Humanities – London to teach the Art and Architecture of Byzantium. Dr. Manginis has curated ancient and contemporary art exhibitions and has worked as a consultant for the Benaki Museum on their Chinese Collection and for the Greek Cathedral of Saint Sophia – London on their Treasury and Library. He has excavated at several sites in Greece, Cyprus, France and Egypt.


Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Göttingen, Ulrich Marzolph is a senior member of the editorial committee of the Enzyklopädie des Märchens (Encyclopaedia of Fairy Tales), an ongoing encyclopedia of historical and comparative folk narrative research. His main research areas are popular literature and narrative tradition of the Islamic Near East, especially Iran and the Arab world. His other areas of interest include the history of printing, visual culture, and Orientalism.




Ashley Miller is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at University of Michigan.  She completed her B.A. in anthropology at the University of Chicago in 2006 and holds a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from University of Michigan.  Her dissertation, “Representing Cultural Heritage in French Colonial Morocco, ca. 1880-1930,” examines the cross-cultural management and conceptualization of Moroccan art and cultural heritage during the first decades of the French Protectorate of Morocco.  Her project considers the intersection of colonial cultural policy in North Africa with the development of the field of Islamic Art History, the rising phenomenon of museums and international expositions, and the promotion of a trans-Mediterranean market for “colonial” or “primitive” decorative arts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  She is currently conducting dissertation research in Paris, supported by a fellowship from the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust.


Keelan Overton is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Art History at Portland State University where she teaches courses on Islamic art and architecture. She holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles (2011) and a Master’s Degree in Art History from Williams College in Massachusetts (2004). Dr. Overton was previously Curator of Islamic Art at the Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Art, Research Assistant in the Art of the Middle East Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and an Instructor and Teaching Assistant at UCLA. She is the recipient of a University of California President’s Fellowship and a Theodore Rousseau Fellowship from the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is currently preparing a book project on artistic exchange between Iran and the Deccan, c. 1400-1600.


Kishwar Rizvi is an historian of Islamic Art and Architecture. She has written on representations of religious and imperial authority in Safavid Iran, as well as on issues of gender, nationalism, and religious identity in modern Iran and Pakistan. She is the author of The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: History, Religion and Architecture in Early Modern Iran (London: British Institute for Persian Studies, I. B. Tauris, 2011) and editor of Modernism and the Middle East: Architecture and Politics in the twentieth century (University of Washington Press, 2008), which was awarded a Graham Foundation publication grant. She is completing a new book, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Mobility in the Contemporary Middle East (University of North Carolina Press), for which she was selected as a Carnegie Foundation Scholar. Her current fieldwork includes research in several parts of the Middle East, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.


Ünver Rüstem specializes in the art and architecture of the Islamic world, with a focus on the later Ottoman Empire. He is particularly interested in East-West intersections and interactions, and his PhD dissertation, which he completed at Harvard University, examines the rise of a new, cross-culturally legible Baroque style in the imperial mosques of eighteenth-century Istanbul. Among his existing and forthcoming publications are articles on the exportation of carved Ottoman tombstones from Istanbul to Cyprus, and on the reception of illustrated manuscripts as revealed by a group of Turkish textual inserts added to the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp. He is currently a lecturer and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University, where he is revising his dissertation into a book while working, among other projects, on articles about the Ottomans’ use of costume books and waxworks as modes of international self-representation.

For information on additional programs offered in conjunction with the Doris Duke, exhibition, please CLICK HERE

This exhibition Doris Duke's Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art was organized by The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which is also providing generous support for its presentation at UMMA and national tour. Additional lead support for UMMA’s installation is provided by the University of Michigan Health System and the University of Michigan Office of the President. Other generous support is provided by the Monroe-Brown Foundation Discretionary Fund for Outreach to the State of Michigan, the Katherine Tuck Enrichment Fund, and the University of Michigan Center for South Asian Studies, CEW Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund, Department of the History of Art, Institute for Research on Women & Gender, Institute for the Humanities, Islamic Studies Program, and the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.