Heba Mostafa

Assistant Professor, Islamic Art, Architecture, and Urbanism
Primary office:
230 Spencer Museum of Art

Heba Mostafa teaches courses on the history of Islamic art, architecture and urbanism. Her teaching focuses upon exploring the development of artistic communities and architectural and urban environments from a multi-faceted cultural perspective that consider political, economical, social, and religious factors. Her research interests include the architecture and urbanism of the Islamic world with a focus on the early Islamic period in the Central Islamic lands, specifically the architecture of the Umayyad period. This is in addition to areas of disciplinary contact with late antiquity and Europe, particularly Muslim Spain.

Dr. Mostafa is currently working on two parallel research projects. The former explores the mosque and palace/governor’s residence within the context of early Islamic politics, which she is currently preparing for publication. The latter explores computer-aided visualization and database construction in the context of the architectural historical research method, with the site of al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem as the focus of the study. Her research projects have received support from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California at Berkeley. In 2015 she will be taking up a fellowship at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence (Max-Planck Institut). Dr. Mostafa is also an affiliate at the Middle Eastern Studies program.


Ph.D., Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2012

M.A., Department of Islamic Art and Architecture, The American University in Cairo, Egypt, 2006

B.Sc. Architectural Engineering, Department of Architectural Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt, 2001

Professional Experience:

2014 Assistant Professor, University of Kansas

2012-2014 Sultan Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor (History of Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism), Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Department of History of Art and, University of California at Berkeley

2012 Lecturer, Islamic Art and Architecture, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge

2007-2010 Supervisor, Islamic Art and Architecture, University of Cambridge

2006-2007 Lecturer, Department of Performing and Visual Arts, American University in Cairo

2004-2007 Teaching Assistant (Part-time), Department of Architectural Engineering, Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Cairo

Courses Offered:

Fall 2014:
HA150 - Western Art History I: Ancient to Medieval
HA305/505 - Introduction to Islamic Art and Architecture

Spring 2015:
HA305/505 - History of the Islamic City
HA305/505 - The Cultural History of Muslim Spain

Fellowships and Awards:

2014, Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz-Max-Planck-Institut

2012, Sultan Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Art History, University of California at Berkeley

2009, Ferris Fund Travel Grant

2009, Kettle’s Yard Travel Grant

2007-2010, King’s College Studentship, University of Cambridge.

2007-2010, Cambridge Overseas Trust-British Petroleum Scholarship.

2006, American Academy of Achievement Award for Academic Merit

2003-2006, MBI Foundation Scholarship in Islamic Art and Architecture, American University in Cairo

1996-2001, Award for Academic Excellence, Cairo University

Selected Conference Papers and Talks:

 2014, Al-Rawdah: Narratives of an Earthly Island Paradise in al-Suyuti’s Kawkab al-Rawdah fi Tarikh Jazirat Misr al-Musammah bi al-RawdaFirst Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies, Universita Ca Foscari, Venice, Italy

 2012A New World Order: Authority, Sacrality and Early Islamic Architecture, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley.  http://vimeo.com/55133984

 2012Religio-political Authority and the Rise of the Mosque and Shrine in Islam, Oxford Center for Byzantine Research, Oxford University.

 2011, Why Did ‘Abd al-Malik Build the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem?, Byzantine Seminar Series, Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge.

 2011The Dome of the Rock as Religio-Political Locale, King’s College Graduate Seminar, Cambridge.

 2011We Are Not Baghdad! Heritage and the Heroic on the Streets of Cairo, Center for Research into the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge.

 2009Silent Stones: The Role of the Visual in Reconstructing the Past, Center for Research into the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge.

 2009Jerusalem: A Past Inscribed Within the Present, Conflict in Cities Third Annual Project Workshop, Jerusalem.

 2009The ‘Agency’ of Spies: Espionage and Early 20th c. Middle Eastern Archaeology, Proceedings of Field/Work Conference, Arts and Humanities Research Association, Edinburgh.

 2009Muslim Spain as Membrane: The Mir’aj-name and Dante’s Divine Comedy, Al-Andalus: Tolerance and Translatio Seminar SeriesCenter for Research into the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge.

 2009What’s in a Word? Qur’an and Public Text in Early Islam, Contemporary Themes in the Islamic Calligraphic Arts: Applications, Perspectives, Futures, The American University in Cairo.

 2009Listen with your Eyes: Signs and Symbols in Early Islam, Festival of Islam, University of Cambridge.

 2009, From Cosmic Kingship to God’s Caliph: The Rise of the Power Idiom in Early Islamic Architecture, Colloquium of the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge.

 2008The Mechanisms of Meaning at the Dome of the Rock, King’s College Graduate Seminar, Cambridge.

 2006, “Urbanism in the Bigger Picture: Contextualizing the Message of the Islamic Urban Code between Isfahan and Istanbul in the 16th and 17th c.”, Proceedings of Appropriating Architecture and Taming Urbanism in the Decades of Transformation, Department of Architecture, Cairo University.

 2004, “Designing in a World of Shifting Paradigms: Early Islamic Design Processes and the Formulation of Responsive Architectural Design”, Proceedings of Second International Conference for Mediterranean Architecture, Cairo.

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