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Hima in the House: Avian Architecture across the Islamic World

Dezember 7, 2022 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Prof. Dr. Christiane Gruber
(University of Michigan)

Hima in the House: Avian Architecture across the Islamic World

Wednesday, 7 December 2022, 19:00 (Turkish time, GMT +3)


Through its recent ecological turn, the scholarly study of “Islamic” architecture has expanded to take into greater account both the animal and vegetal worlds. As nature’s most accomplished architects, birds have long contributed to the biomorphic landscape and built environment of the greater Middle East. Stretching from Morocco to Turkey and India, houses made for birds, and made by birds, attest to the thriving of avian architecture across the centuries. Bird houses, whether impromptu or purpose-built, provide a type of sanctuary and refuge — or hima as conceptualized within Islamic philosophical and ecological traditions — dedicated to protecting avifauna and their related regions, the latter used as agricultural lands for human sustenance and/or as biodiversity reserves for non-human survival. Fluttering from nest and nook to tower and palace, this talk examines various types of bird houses along with their architectonic language and creative forms, their intersections with vulnerable places and peoples, and their bio-material contributions to an integrated creaturely world.


Christiane Gruber is Professor of Islamic Art in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan as well as Founding Director of Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online. Her scholarly work (available here) explores medieval to contemporary Islamic art, especially figural representation, depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, manuscripts and book arts, archaeology, architecture, and modern visual and material cultures. Her most recent publications include: The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images; The Image Debate: Figural Representation in Islam and Across the World; and, with Michelle al-Ferzly, City in the Desert, Revisited: Oleg Grabar at Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi. She is currently on sabbatical in Turkey, undertaking field research and writing her next book entitled Elements of the Middle East: Art, Faith, and Ecology).


Dezember 7, 2022
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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