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Nisa Ari

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BA, Stanford University

Dr. Ari specializes in 19th and 20th century visual practices, with a focus on artwork from the Middle East. Her research explores the relationships between cultural politics and the development of art institutions, specifically in Palestine and in Turkey. Her current book project, Cultural Mandates, Artistic Missions, and “The Welfare of Palestine,” 1876–1948, explores how radical political transformations from the last decades of Ottoman rule until the establishment of the State of Israel changed the nature of artistic production in Palestine. Her research has been published in the journals Third Text, Arab Studies Journal, and Thresholds, and has been supported by numerous fellowships, including the Mellon Foundation/American Council for Learned Societies, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Palestinian American Research Center, and the Darat al Funun center for Arab art in Amman. She is the recipient of the 2017 Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Paper in Modern and Contemporary Arab Art from the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) and has served as a book reviews editor for AMCA since 2018. Ari previously served as Associate Director of the Studio Program at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City and recently curated exhibitions at the Qalandiya International Art Biennial (Jerusalem/Ramallah) and the Keller Gallery at MIT. At the University of Houston, she teaches general and specialized courses on Islamic Art and Architecture, Modern Art in the Middle East, the Global History of Photography, and Orientalism and Representation.