I’m an historian of art and architecture with expertise in the Middle East and North African (MENA), or alternatively, medieval Islamic (or Islamicate) societies and civilization. This field developed out of, and continues to be an active agent in, colonial systems, with all the difficult and problematic issues that entails.
I’m the founding leader of the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections, and currently Senior Lecturer in Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh. Before arriving in Edinburgh in 2018 I was Associate Professor of Art History with tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I taught Islamic art history since 2006. Before that I held visiting lectureships at Boston Architectural College, Dartmouth College, and Brandeis University.
My commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is shaped by my personal background and perspectives. I am a cis-female-geeky-introverted-mixed-BAME-immigrant-mom-and enthusiastic amateur musician from a working-class family, who was born in the Philippines and spent formative years in Italy and the American South.
Most of the schools and universities I have attended are public institutions, and I’m committed to public education and to making accurate, inclusive knowledge about global art and history widely and freely accessible to people of all ages.
Before starting the PhD I was interested in preserving America’s historic buildings and urban fabric. I completed my MA in Architectural History and Historic Preservation at the University of Virginia, where I enjoyed working with the architectural conservators on restoration projects at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
When I’m not working I most enjoy listening to and making music, exploring the gorgeous landscapes of Scotland, and traveling with family and friends.