Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art
Gülru Necipoğlu has been the Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture since 1993 at Harvard University’s History of Art and Architecture Department, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1986. She specializes in the arts and architecture of the pre-modern Islamic lands, with a focus on the Mediterranean. She is interested in questions of aesthetic cosmopolitanism, transregional connectivities between early modern Islamicate empires (Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal), and cross-cultural artistic exchanges with Byzantium and Renaissance Europe. Her studies have also addressed pre-modern architectural practice, plans and drawings, the aesthetics of abstract ornament and geometric design. Her critical interests encompass methodological and historiographical issues in modern constructions of the field of Islamic art.
Professor Necipoğlu edits the journal Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World (Brill) and her books include: Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: The Topkapı Palace (1991); The Topkapı Scroll–Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995); The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005, 2011). She recently edited the following volumes: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols, 2019, coeditors Cemal Kafadar and Cornell H. Fleischer); The Arts of Ornamental Geometry: A Persian Compendium on Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures (2017); A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, in the Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History (coeditor F. Barry Flood, 2017); and Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local (coeditor Alina Payne, 2016).
Professor Necipoğlu is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Archittettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza.