Asia & The Middle East
Advance new knowledge of the architectures, landscapes, and urbanity of Asia and the Middle East through research, and promote cross-cultural understanding of the intertwined histories of Western and non-Western peoples.
Conceptions of Asia and the Middle East have shifted decisively in recent decades. The old spatial politics of national and regional boundaries and the intellectual framing of geographies and architectures of difference seem increasingly less relevant to the new political, cultural, and intellectual conditions of the 21st century. Transformed, since the 1990s, by a veritable new revolution in spatial and technological connectivity, the world of the present is also a troubled one, mired again in civil wars, and social and economic upheaval on a global scale.
In this context, long-laboured concepts such as site, place, region and cultural identity need to be reconsidered by scholars of architecture and built environment if we seek to advance understanding of the past in ways understandable and relevant to the present and future.
Researchers in this area are working on a range of projects that explore the cultural and intellectual terrains of Asia and the Middle East, including:
- Cross-cultural thinking in architecture.
- Transitions to modernity in Asia and the Middle East.
- Early modernity and urbanism in the Arab world.
- Australian-Asian/Middle Eastern exchange in art, architecture, and urbanism.
- Intellectual and socio-urban history of Asian and Middle Eastern societies .
Learn more about our research experts
Lead researchers in this area are currently focused on
Islamic Culture and the Arab World
- History and theory of Islamic art, architecture, and landscape (Samer Akkach & Katharine Bartsch)
- Early modern science and urbanity in the Arab/Ottoman world (Samer Akkach, Anne-Marie Willis & Selen Morkoc)
- Visual culture and ways of seeing in Islamic cultures (Samer Akkach & Anne-Marie Willis)
- Early modern material culture: a cross-cultural perspective (Samer Akkach & James Bennett)
- Cosmology, mysticism, and architecture in the Islamic tradition (Samer Akkach)
- Spatial thinking and spatial aesthetics in the Arab-Islamic tradition (Samer Akkach)
- Mughal imperial hunting tradition (Shaha Parpia & Samer Akkach)
- Islamic Art in South-East Asia (James Bennett & Samer Akkach)
India and Asia
- Modern Indian architecture (Peter Scriver & Amit Srivastava)
- Modernity and Asian architectural historiography (Peter Scriver & Amit Srivastava)
- Colonial and contemporary issues in South and Southeast Asian architecture (Peter Scriver & Amit Srivastava)
- Australian-Asian exchange in architecture and the building industries (Amit Srivastava & Peter Scriver)
- Transnational networks of architectural production in Asia and Africa (Amit Srivastava & Peter Scriver)
- Design production and agency within institutional frameworks (Peter Scriver & Amit Srivastava)
Our research units and groups working in this area
- Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA)
Recent and current funded research projects
- Everyday Life in Extraordinary Times: Egyptian Images from Australia – A-M. Willis & S. Akkach, Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) (2018-2019)
- Islam and the Ethos of Science in Early Modern Islam – S. Akkach, ARC Discovery (2013-2018)
- ʿIlm: Science, Religion and Art in Islam – S. Akkach, Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) (2016-2017)
- The Architecture of Australia’s Muslim Pioneers – P. Scriver & K. Bartsch, ARC Linkage (2014-2017)
Researchers in this cluster
- Professor Samer Akkach
- Visiting Professor Anne-Marie Willis
- Associate Professor Peter Scriver
- Dr Katharine Bartsch
- Dr Amit Srivastava
- Visiting Research Fellow Selen Morkoc
Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us?
The School of Architecture and Built Environment offers exciting opportunities for researchers at both the masters and doctorate levels. If you are interested in humanism and sustainability, consider furthering your research career with us.