PDF icon Curriculum Vitae

Renata Holod is Professor Emerita, and Curator in the Near East Section, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. She received her BA in Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, MA in the History of Art from University of Michigan and Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Harvard University.

Professor Holod has served as Convenor, Steering Committee Member, and Master Jury Chair of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. As architectural consultant, she has worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), Arthur Ericson Architects, Venturi Scott-Brown Architects, Mitchell/Giurgola Associates, H2L2, and Michael Graves& Associates, and the Center for Architecture in NYC. 

She was Clark Professor at Williams College and the Clark Institute in 2002. In 2004, the Islamic Environmental Research Centre honored her with an Award for outstanding work in Islamic Architectural Studies. In 2010, she received the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring.


Research Interests

She has done archaeological and architectural fieldwork in Syria, Iran, Morocco, Central Asia and Turkey, and on the island of Jerba, Tunisia.  Her most recent project is a collaborative study of the grave goods of a Qipchaq kurgan in the Black Sea steppe of the thirteenth century.

Selected Publications

She has co-authored and edited the following works: City in the Desert, An account of the archaeological expedition to Qasr al- Hayr al- Sharqi, Syria; Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today; Modern Turkish Architecture; The Mosque and the Modern World; The City in the Islamic World; and An Island Through Time: Jerba Studies.  She is founding member of the Committee on Visual Studies at Penn (http://www.arthistory.upenn.edu/vlst/program.html) and has worked with Computer Graphics@Penn, School of Engineering to recreate interior lighting in architecture: http://cg.cis.upenn.edu/hms/research/Archaeology/.  She co-curated the September 2010–June 2011 exhibition “Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands,” http:// www.ottomanlands.com, and at the Pera Museum, Istanbul under the name “ Osman Hamdi Bey and the Americans.” 

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Visual Studies (with D. Brainard, Psychology and G. Hatfield, Philosophy) (VLST 101)
  • Introduction to the Visual Culture of the Islamic World (ARTH 217/ 617)
  • Undergraduate Seminar (ARTH 301): topics include: Orientalism/ Occidentalism, Art and Craft: Reconstructing Process from Close Examination.  
  • Early Islamic Art and Architecture, up to 1250 (ARTH 416)
  • Later Islamic Art and Architecture, from 1250(ARTH 417)
  • Pro-Seminar: Art of Al-Andalus (ARTH 516)
  • Pro-Seminar: Introduction to Arabic and Persian Epigraphy
  • Seminar: Art of Iran (ARTH 517/AAMW 517), recent topics include “Studying a Nizami Manuscript”; “ Toward a ‘Biography’ of a Manuscript: the case of NEP27”
  • Seminar: Islamic City (ARTH 518)
  • Seminar: Islamic Art (ARTH 716), recent topics include “Vision and Optic Effects in Islamic Art”
  • Seminar: Islamic Archaeology (ARTH 717), recent topics include “Approaches to the Archaeology of Islamic Periods”
  • Seminar: Islamic Architecture (ARTH 718), recent topics include “Town and Territory, Approaches to the Study of Islamic Cities”