Hussein Keshani, PhD

Associate Professor

Art History, Creative Studies
Other Titles: Art History and Visual Culture Program Coordinator
Office: CCS 170
Phone: 250.807.9770

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Sultanate, Mughal and Late-Mughal era (Nawwabi) visual culture; Digital Islamic Art History; Interpretation in Digital Media for Botanic Gardens and Museums

Courses & Teaching

World Art History; Art Histories of the Islamic World & South Asia; Digital Humanities; World Literatures


Dr. Keshani initially studied architecture and design at the University of Manitoba, as well as urban planning. Troubled by the endemic Eurocentricism in his required art history coursework, he decided to pursue studies in art history with a focus on the Islamic World and South Asia at the University of Victoria (UVic), where he completed his MA thesis on the Delhi’s Dargah of Nizamuddin and his PhD dissertation on Lucknow’s Bara Imambara complex. He went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships at UVic, Stanford (IHUM), and MIT (AKPIA). He has been an invited to speak in the UK, Australia, and Algeria and has presented his scholarship at major international scholarly gatherings, which include the Association for Art History, Modern Language Association, College Art Association, and American Historical Association.

As a scholar and a teacher, Keshani’s work crosses multiple disciplines including history, religious and gender studies, digital art history/humanities, world literature, interpretation and art and architectural history. His diverse research practices include, archival and museum research, fieldwork at architectural sites and botanic gardens, coding, and analytical renderings of architectural drawings and digital models.



Bachelor of Environmental Studies, University of Manitoba, Master of Arts (Co-op), History in Art, University of Victoria, Doctor of Philosophy, History in Art, University of Victoria

Selected Publications & Presentations

The Evolving the Botanic Garden project. (forthcoming)

“A Collage of Projections: Exploring an Awadhi Miniature Painting’s Pictorial Space Through 3D Modelling.” Inside/Outside Islamic Art & Architecture: A Cartography of Boundaries in and of the Field. New York: Bloomsbury, 2019/20. (forthcoming)

Doctrine and Design: Two Islamic Centres in Burnaby, Canada.” BC Studies. No. 198 Summer 2018.

Database Review of Archnet 2.0, A Resource for the Built Environments of Muslim Societies.” Beyond Citations Project. June 18, 2018.

Imāmbāra.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Eds. Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. 2018.

“Taj Mahal,” Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (MacMillan Reference USA, Jan. 8, 2016 –Ebook; March 4, 2016 Print) pp. 1138-1140.

“The Writing on the Walls: Selections from the Twelver Shi`i Epigraphs of Lucknow’s Husseinabad Imambara.” In People of the Prophet’s House: Art, Architecture and Shi‘ism in the Islamic World. Ed. Fahmida Suleman. London: I.B. Taurus & British Museum, 2015. 115-125.

“Encounters with Digital Art History.” Ars Orientalis, Vol 44., 2015

Digitizing Islamic World Visual Cultural Heritage: Recolonizing or Decolonizing Cultural Memory, or Both?Patrimoines du Maghreb à l’ère numérique Conference Proceedings. Eds. Samia Chergui and Bernadette Saou-Dufrêne eds., 2014.

Towards Digital Islamic Art HistoryJournal of Art Historiography: Islamic Art History. Issue 2012. Eds. Moya Carey and Margaret Graves, University of Glasgow, 6-HK/1.

Reading Visually: Can Art Historical Reading Approaches go Digital?Scholarly and Research Communication 2012, vol 3, No 4 (2012).

“Architecture and Community,” in Amyn B. Sajoo, ed., A Companion to Muslim Cultures, London: I.B. Tauris, 2012. 117-136.

“Theatres of Power and Piety: Architecture and Court Culture in Awadh, India.” In Court Cultures in the Muslim World Seventh to Nineteenth Centuries. Eds. Albrecht Fuess and Jan-Peter Hartung. New York: Routledge, 2010. pp. 445-471.

Engaging Islamic Views on Human-Animal Relations: Towards an Adab-centred Approach,” Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology. Leiden: Brill, Volume 14, Number 1, 2010. pp. 6-25.

“Islamic Architecture.” In The Islamic World. Ed. Andrew Rippin. London: Routledge, 2008. pp. 444-472.

“Islamic Art.” In The Islamic World. Ed. Andrew Rippin. London: Routledge, 2008. pp. 421-443.

Architecture and the Twelver Shi‘a Tradition: The Great Imāmbārā complex of Lucknow.” Muqarnas, vol. 23 (Nov.). Leiden: Brill, 2006. pp. 219-250.  (Winner of the Margaret B. Sevcenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture).

“The Abbasid Palace of Theophilus.” al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean. London: Carfax, 2004, vol. 16, No. 1, March 2004. pp. 75-91.

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.

Selected Grants & Awards

SSHRC Insight, Co-Investigator, Botanic Gardens and the Politics of National and Transnational Environmental Governance, 2012-2021

National Endowment for Humanities-ODH Start-Up grant (Level II) (US), Co-Applicant, Evolving the Botanic Garden: Digital Environmental and Cultural Interpretation at the Edmonton Devonian Botanic Garden’s new Islamic Garden, 2015

SSHRC, Partnership Development Grant, Evolving the Botanic Garden: Digital Environmental and Cultural Interpretation at the Edmonton Devonian Botanic Garden’s new Islamic Garden, 2014-2017

SSHRC, Insight Development  Grant, Model Images: Transforming Miniature Paintings into 3D Virtual Environments, 2012-2013

Internal Research Grant, UBC, The Gardens of Awadh: A Preliminary Study of the Mughal Garden Tradition in 18th and 19th C North India Funding, 2012

UBC Okanagan Grant for the Integration of Teaching and Research in Undergraduate Education, World History of Art Mashup (WHAM): Reimagining Art History Learning Tools, 2012

UBC Hampton Partnership Development Grant, Bloom: An Interpretive Program for Edmonton’s Contemporary Islamic Garden, 2012

Martha Piper Research Fund, UBC, The “Medieval” Delhi Humanities  Computing Research Collective, 2007

Awards & Distinctions

Beyond the Digitized Slide Library Summer Institute Participant Award, Getty Foundation and University of California, Los Angeles, July 28 –August 6, 2014

Teaching Award for Excellence & Innovation, Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies, UBCO, 2014

Marion Dean Ross Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians, Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Awards, Doctrine and Design in Islamic Centers of the Pacific Northwest, 2012

Margaret B. Sevcenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture, Historians of Islamic Art, 2005/06

Introduction to Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, 2004

Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship, Strangers, Lovers, and Kin: Gender Roles and their Interplay with the Architecture of Awadh, 2004

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship, Negotiating Presence: Architecture and Gender Relations in 18th C. Awadh, India, 2003

Graduate Supervisions

Nathalie Hager, From Nations to Networks: An Analysis of North American World Art History Discourse During the Transcultural Turn (PhD Candidate, in-process)

Chelsea Baumgartner, Queer Muslim Contemporary Artists: A Trans-Temporal Heuristic Model (PhD Candidate, in-process)

Undergraduate Honours Supervisions

Asia Li, Armstrong, Chinese Commemorative Memorial Report, 2017, FCCS Undergraduate Student Research Award

Lucas Glenn, Ellipsis, BFA Visual Arts Supervisor, 9/2013 – 4/2014 (Creative Studies Award 2013/14)

Dylan Ranney, BFA Visual Arts Supervisor, 9/2012 – 4/2013 (FCCS Visual Arts Prize, 2012/13)

Nadine Bradshaw, BFA Visual Arts Supervisor, 9/2012 – 4/2013 (DVC purchase Award, 2012/13)

Avery (Alanna) De Rousie, BFA Visual Arts Supervisor, 9/2011 – 4/2012

Barbara Morin, BFA Visual Arts Supervisor, 9/2009 – 4/2010

Jacqueline Karley, BFA Visual Arts Supervisor, 9/2008 – 4/2009


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