Office Hours - Fall 2010
Tues, Thurs: 11:15 – 12:00 pm and by appointment
Catherine Asher is a specialist in Islamic and Indian art from 1200 to the present. She’s well known for her work on the Mughal dynasty (1526-1858), but increasingly is working on the patronage of their successors and predecessors, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Current work focuses on architecture provided by Hindus, Jains, Muslims and Sikhs in cities across north India. Exploring not only architecture but also painting as well as luxury arts, she shows that contrary to common belief these communities were more often in harmony with one another than in adversarial relationships. In addition to urban formations and developments, Catherine Asher is also interested in the shrines that develop around deceased Muslim saints, that is, Sufis, examining the appeal such complexes have for devotees. Those in south India that focus on miraculous healing have much in common with nearby churches and Hindu temples, thus suggesting the development of pan-Indian cultures that transcend religious affiliations. In addition to courses on India, she teaches a wide range of courses on Islamic art and culture. To develop these courses, Catherine Asher has traveled extensively to areas with sizable Muslim populations from Spain to China.
“Amber and Jaipur: Temples in a Changing State,“ in Marg: A Magazine of the Arts (2004), “Uneasy Bedfellows: Islamic Art and the Politics of Indian Nationalism,“ in Religion and the Arts: A Journal from Boston College 8:1 (2004), 37-57, “Hidden Gold: Jain Temples of Delhi and Jaipur and Their Urban Context“ in Jainism and Early Buddhism: Essays in Honor of Padmanath Jaini, ed. Olle Qvarnstrom. Fremont, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 2003, “Delhi Walled: Changing Boundaries,“ in City Walls: The Urban Enceinte in Global Perspective, ed. by James Tracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000; “Mapping Hindu-Muslim Identities Through the Architecture of Shahjahanabad and Jaipur,“ in Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, edited by David Gilmartin and Bruce Lawrence (Gainesville: University of Florida, 2000).
Her past and current graduate students have written masters' papers and dissertations on a variety of topics ranging from the contemporary architecture of Morocco, Spain and Iran, Ottoman baths, Mughal painting, and Patronage under the Bijapuri Sultans, the photography of Shirin Neshat, the art and architecture of the Ranas of Udaipur to the impact of Gandhi’s thought on low cost housing in India just to give a few examples. Classes she teaches include Art of Islam, Age of Empire: Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals, Art of Islamic Iran, Diversity of Traditions: Indian Art, 1200 to the Present among others including graduate level seminars.
She has completed a terms as the College Art Association's Vice President for Publications as well as a ten-year term as the Chair of the Committee on Art and Archaeology of the American Institute of Indian Studies.