Kishwar Rizvi, a leader in the study of art and the built environment in Islamic cultures, has been named the Robert Lehman Professor of Art History, Islamic Art and Architecture, from July 1.
She is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Art History and a faculty member of the Yale School of Architecture.
Rizvi has been on the Yale faculty since 2006. She previously held a faculty position at Barnard College. In the spring of 2022, she was Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Visiting Professor at I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.
She conducts fieldwork in several regions of the Middle East and South Asia, including Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. She is the author of two acclaimed monographs. The first, “The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: Architecture, Religion and Power in Early Modern Iran”, (2011) revealed how the transition from devotional to imperial aesthetics represented dynastic aspirations, affecting a wide range of public buildings in through Iran. The second, “The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East”, highlights the role of mosques in contemporary Islamic identity and the link between religious practice and national ideologies. A landmark achievement, “The Transitional Mosque” received awards from the American Library Association and the College Art Association, as well as Yale’s Gustav Ranis International Book Prize.
Additionally, Rizvi has edited two volumes of essays: “Modernism and the Middle East: Architecture and Politics in the Twentieth Century” (2008) and “Affect, Emotion, and Subjectivity in Early Modern Muslim Empires” (2017). His forthcoming book, “Imagining a World: Artistic and Cultural Encounters in Early Modern Iran,” examines how early modern subjects – whether leaders, artists, or diplomats – imagined their place in an interconnected world; and in which works of art demonstrated, even enabled, shifting conceptions of individuality. Rizvi has also published articles in major journals in the fields of art history and architectural history, and contributed opinion pieces for CNN, The Washington Post, and WBUR. She is currently the chief acquisitions editor of Platform, a digital publication on buildings and spaces, and associate editor of the Iranian Studies Journal.
His work has been recognized by the Aga Khan Fellowship in Islamic Art and Architecture, as well as fellowships and grants from the Carnegie, Graham and Mellon Foundations. Her recent speaking engagements have taken her to Harvard, Columbia, UCLA, Cornell, the Getty Center and other institutions across the country and around the world.
Rizvi is currently president of the Association of Historians of Islamic Art and has served on the boards of the International Journal of Middle East Studies and the International Society for Iranian Studies, helping to set agendas in these areas. interdisciplinary. At Yale, she is a member of the Council on Middle East Studies and the Council on South Asian Studies. During her tenure as President, the Council on Middle East Studies received the prestigious Title VI award from the U.S. Department of Education which funded public programming and outreach at Yale and New Haven. She served as Chair of the Committee on Teaching and Learning and served on the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Planning Committee of 320 York, and other academic bodies. In the Department of Art History, she served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Chair of the Admissions Review Committee. In this capacity, she helped transform graduate admissions processes within the department with the goal of fostering a diverse academic community. A sought-after mentor and advisor, Rizvi teaches courses in museum studies, Middle Eastern art and architecture, critical and theoretical approaches to art history, and other subjects.
Rizvi earned her Ph.D. from MIT, a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University.