Visual culture of Islam – Fall 2023

Participating Campuses: Host – University of Michigan | Receiving – University of Maryland

Time: T, TH: 11:30-1:00pm

Course Numbers:

  • Michigan – HISTART 285+
  • Maryland – AAST 298B+

This course examines the art and architecture in the Islamic world with a chronological and regional approach. It starts with the establishment of Islam in Arabia in the seventh century, continues with the course of its spread throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, and ends with contemporary Islamic art and architecture. It focuses on the spread of the Word of God (Qurʾan) in different media and settings (e.g., manuscripts and buildings), the definition of Islamic art, major monuments as well as vernacular architecture, palatial art production as well as ephemera, artists and patrons from minority communities, patronage of women, gendered spaces, soundscapes and smell escapes, interactions between China, Europe, and the Byzantine Empire, and Orientalist art and architecture.

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 recently completed her third book, titled The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images.

Fields of Study

  • Islamic painting
  • Persian and Turkic book arts
  • Codicology and paleography
  • texts and images of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension (mi‘raj)
  • Islamic representations of the Prophet Muhammad
  • Iranian post-revolutionary art and visual culture
  • Modern Islamic visual and material culture