PhD Studentship « Recording the Invisible: Islamic Architecture and its Photographic Archives », SOAS University of London — LIMITE: 26/03/2021

Qualification Type:PhD
Location:London
Funding for:UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount:Not Specified
Hours:Full Time
Placed On:4th March 2021
Closes:26th March 2021

Principal Supervisor: Dr. Simon O’Meara

Co-Supervisor: Dr. Emma Sandon

Rationale & Aims:

This project investigates the use of photography for the study of Islamic architecture. Photographic archives are key sources for the history of Islamic architecture. The project proposes that the perspective that underpins the lens-based technology of photography used to visualise Islamic architecture emerges from an historically and culturally specific development in European art and science. As such, photographic sources for the study of Islamic architecture might not integrate key elements of Islamic visuality, or the social and cultural conditions of both seeing in the Islamic world and the making of meaning of what is seen by the inhabitants of that world. Photography might not fully accommodate Islamic visuality.

The project’s first aim is thus to establish how inimical photography is to the recording of Islamic material culture, including Islamic architecture. That is because Islamic architecture and design are commonly linked to metaphysical elements, forming part of a visuality that pertains as much to the invisible realm (the Quranic al-ghayb) as to the visible realm (the Quranic al-shahada). The photographic archives represent, at best, perspectives of the visible realm of this Islamic visuality. The project’s second aim is the development of strategies that expose the perspectives at work in photography and suggest ways of allowing for the ongoing use of the images the archives of Islamic architecture contain, but in a manner accommodating of both realms of Islamic visuality.

Objectives:

1) the unravelling of the problematics of Islamic architecture’s records in photographic archives; 2) the appraisal and harnessing of scholarship and practice-based research that critique photography’s claim to produce indices of reality, in order for 3) the development of strategies that accommodate the ontology of Islamic visuality and offer a more appropriate and contextually interpretive use of the existing collections in the photographic archives.

Please visit website below for more information about the project herehttp://www.bloomsbury.ac.uk/studentships/2021/recording-the-invisible-islamic-architecture-and-its-photographic-archives

Application process:

1) Admissions Application: 26th March 2021.

Apply for the Research Degrees programme: MPhil/PhD in History and Archeology using SOAS’s online admissions form. https://www.soas.ac.uk/art/programmes/phd-history-of-art-and-or-archaeology/

Further guidance for applying for admission to the MPhil/PhD programme and documents are here http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/research/howtoapply/

IMPORTANT: Please state in the admissions application that you wish to be considered for the Bloomsbury Colleges PhD Studentship, use the title of the studentship (‘Recording the Invisible: Islamic Architecture and its Photographic Archives’)  as your Supporting Statement/Cover letter Title and state Dr. Simon O’Meara as your Principal Supervisor.

Use your Supporting Statement/Cover letter to explain why you are motivated to apply for this project, and what skills and experience you will bring to the project. In your Supporting Statement/Cover letter set out how you would engage with this project based on your previous academic training and experience. You do not need to submit a research proposal for this studentship application; if the system asks you to upload a document here, please upload your Supporting Statement/Cover letter again.

2) Studentship Application: Friday, 26th March 2021.

Apply for the Bloomsbury Colleges Studentship by completing and submitting this studentship application form ASAP or by Friday, 26 March 2021.

Interviews: TBC


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