Dr. Hussein Keshani
Associate Professor, Art History
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
CCS 170, 1148 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Recipient of the 2012 Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Award
Presented by the The Marion Dean Ross Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.
The goal of this award program is to further awareness and knowledge of the architectural heritage of the Pacific Northwest. The chapter will provide limited funds for focused projects that increase understanding of the region's built environment and produce tangible results that can be made available for interested scholars and students. Read more
After initially studying architecture, I chose to pursue art history at the University of Victoria, BC, where I completed my MA and PhD. Art History sometimes gets a bad rap as being fluffy, but I’m really drawn to the field’s interdisciplinary nature, since studying visual cultures generally requires knowledge of artmaking practices, history, religion, cultural practices, languages, literature and many other areas. In Victoria, we were encouraged to study many different regions and periods of the world before specializing. My focus became South Asia and the Islamic World.
Why study South Asia and the Islamic World? The beautifully detailed miniature paintings, the stunning monuments, the intriguing sculptures and the graceful calligraphy that you find are definitely seductive. Current trends in graphic and gallery art and architecture are also fascinating. But, I also think it’s a great way to learn about people and traditions that are too often misunderstood in our contemporary world.
My research interests have led me all around North India where I studied 14th C Sufi shrines and 18th C ritual centres called imambaras. I’m now working on a book project that examines how Muslim notions of gender shape images and space in 18th and 19th C North India. I’m also working on the use of computing technologies to advance visual cultural research. I have been fortunate to have held postdoctoral fellowships with the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard/MIT, the Introduction to Humanities program at Stanford and with SSHRC at the University of Victoria’s History in Art department.
The areas I have taught include introductory courses in European and Islamic art history, advanced courses on literature and gender in Islamic art and architecture, South Asian art and architecture, Islamic history, as well as theory and methods of visual cultural interpretation and analysis. I think it’s important to encourage students to examine their own assumptions about art and culture and I place importance on helping students to read critically, to form arguments, and to use evidence and theories to develop their arguments.
I’m really pleased to be part of a program and faculty that is committed to interdisciplinarity and perhaps most importantly encouraging students to think critically and learn more about the world’s diverse cultures.
- ARTH 202 001 The Critical Viewer
ARTH 370 001 Art & Literature of the Islamic World
ARTH 460A 001 Selected Topics - Intrepretation
ARTH 375 001 Encountering India: The Age of the Mughals
“Engaging Islamic Views on Human-Animal Relations: Towards an Adab-centred Approach,” Worldviews, Brill, 2009/2010
“Courtly Architecture of Awadh,” Court Cultures in the Muslim World, SOAS/ Routledge Studies on the Middle East, 2009
“Islamic Architecture,” The Islamic World, ed. Andrew Rippin, Routledge, London , 2008
“Islamic Art,” The Islamic World, ed. Andrew Rippin, Routledge, London, 2008
“Architecture and the Twelver Shi‘a Tradition: The Great Imāmbārā complex of Lucknow,” Muqarnas, vol. 23, Leiden: Brill, 2006.
* Winner of the Margaret B. Sevcenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture “Strangers, Lovers, and Kin: Gender Roles and Their Interplay with the Architecture of Awadh,” Studies in Architecture, History & Culture: Papers by the 2003-2004 AKPIA@MIT Visiting Fellows. AKPIA MIT, 2004.
“The Abbasid Palace of Theophilus,” al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean, London: Carfax, 2004, Vol. 16, No. 1, March 2004
“Epigraphs, Scripture and Architecture in the Early Sultanate of Delhi,” co-authored with Anthony Welch and Alexandra Bain, Muqarnas, vol. 19, Leiden: Brill, 2002, pp. 12-43.
Last reviewed 7/20/2015 3:31:30 PM
Asaf al-Dawla's Twelver Shia Friday Mosque, Lucknow, India, c. 1791
Interior of Jamatkhana Mosque at Dargah of Nizamuddin, New Delhi, India, c. 1325
Shuja Quli Khan & Courtesan, c. 1760 (in B.N., Paris France)