The Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA) will be holding an international symposium at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. This symposium is intended as the inauguration of a biennial cycle of meetings within the field in order to reflect its growth, to support its expanding methodological, regional, and temporal scope, and to give HIAA greater visibility internationally as the leading organization for historians of Islamic art, architecture and archaeology.


The first symposium will take place over a three-day period and will have each of the three days focused on a different zone of interest. The first day, “Out of Late Antiquity,” takes up the field’s formative emphasis on early Islamic art, a field remade in recent years through continued archaeological investigations and critically informed readings of the historical sources. The second day, " ‘Unity and Variety’ Once More: Time, Place, Material,” examines the field’s definitive shift since the late 1970s to regional, dynastic, and media based inquiries. The third day, “Confronting Modernity,” addresses the extension of the field into the modern and contemporary periods, and emerging debates about their study.

The program for each day will consist of three separate elements: a keynote address, three sessions of papers, and a specialized workshop. The three keynote addresses will be supported by three scholarly sessions, each comprised of four papers. Session organizers have been be asked to develop a theme appropriate for the day for their session, and invite speaker or call for papers. They were free to invite a co-organizer. They have also been encouraged to recruit one of their four papers from abroad, preferably from scholars residing in countries of the Islamic world. The workshops, each led by an expert, are meant to familiarize colleagues with new directions or findings in specific sub-fields that may not familiar or easily accessible.