Due to new MIT policies on travel, we regret to inform you that the events associated with the 2020 W. Bernard Herman Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Art History have been cancelled.
The Department of Art History apologizes for any inconvenience. We hope for your understanding and we are looking to reschedule Dr. Rabbat's visit in the 2020-21 academic year.
The Department of Art History is pleased to present the 2020 W. Bernard Herman Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Art History Lecture.
This is a free event and all are welcome to attend!
"The Street in (Mamluk) Cairo"
Dr. Nasser Rabbat
Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture
Department of Architecture, MIT
The streets of Mamluk Cairo, the capital of one of the most ambitious medieval Islamic empires, were shaped by a design process that emphasized verticality, visibility, and domination of the urban surroundings. With a rather restrained number of architectural elements, Mamluk patrons competed with each other in endowing urban monuments, focusing on the two main thoroughfares along the route of royal processions in the city, al-Shari‘ al-A‘zam and al-Darb al-Ahmar. The two streets were transformed into venues of exhibition where the Mamluk grandees manipulated architecture to display signs of power, piety, and civic engagement, while asserting an elaborate spatial, visual, and ceremonial grandeur. The Mamluk structures still standing today attest to the outstanding monumental properties of Mamluk architecture in framing streets that exude an intentional imperial majesty.
Nasser Rabbat is the Aga Khan Professor and the Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. An architect and a historian, his scholarly interests include the history and historiography of Islamic architecture, art, and cultures, urban history, and post-colonial criticism. He teaches lecture courses on various facets of Islamic architecture and seminars on the history of Islamic urbanism and contemporary cities, orientalism, historiography, and the issue of meaning in architecture. In his research and teaching he presents architecture in ways that illuminate its interaction with culture and society and stress the role of human agency in shaping that interplay.
2020 Herman Lecture Series Poster (PDF)