Professor Grigor to present paper at international symposium on Islamic art
Professor Talinn Grigor will present her paper ”Pedagogical Realignment and Hyphenated Historians of Qajar Architecture: Vrdanis Eiwziwkʻchean and Kavasji Kiash in Dialogue” at the 10th biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art in Doha this Nov. 12.
Grigor’s research traces 18th- to 20th-century architectural histories through postcolonial, race, and critical theories grounded in Iran, Armeno-Iran, and Parsi India. In this article, she examines two canonical texts and nationalist histories of the Qajar empire. In 1854, Description of Persia’s Notable Edifices, written in Western Armenian with Persian and cuneiform annotations by a Catholic Armenian priest of the Antonine Congregation of Aleppo, appeared in Istanbul. To produce the twenty-eight illustrations of this architectural history, Vrdanis Eiwziwkʻchean, an Ottoman subject, had traveled through Isfahan, documenting diverse structures, including Shaykh Lotf-Allah Mosque, Chehel Sotun Palace, the Dominican Monastery, Armenian Apostolic Saint Saviors Cathedral, and the Zoroastrian Rostam Kuh. From Iran’s Mughal border entered the Bombay-based Zoroastrian Parsi journalist and historian Kavasji Kiash on a two-year tour of Iran. Composed in English, Gujarati, and Persian and illustrated with ninety-six drawings of mostly Achaemenid and Sassanian sites, he published Ancient Persian Sculptures in 1889. By triangulating these “native” histories of Qajar architecture vis-à-vis canonical narratives of national architecture, this study considers the pedagogical effects of nationalist historiography and the generative potential of liminality. The “global turn” in the pedagogy of Islamic art might not necessarily mean to teach a broader geography but rather to foreground the synergies and inclusiveness of Islamicate art production before the age of nationalism.
The “Islamic Art History and the Global Turn: Theory, Method, Practice” symposium will be live-streamed and recorded in its entirety for those who cannot travel to Doha to attend the event. Recordings will be available on the symposium website in early 2024.