Jennifer Pruitt

Assistant Professor

(608) 263.2349

216 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Jennifer Pruitt

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Ph.D. Harvard University, 2009
M.A. Harvard University, 2005
B.A. Smith College, 1997

I specialize in medieval Islamic architecture, with a particular focus on Fatimid Egypt (909-1171). My current book project investigates the architecture of the Fatimids, centering its discussion around a medieval enigma – the patronage of the “mad” caliph, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (r. 996-1021). I am particularly interested in what architecture meant to the multi-confessional populations (Muslims, Christians, Jews) of the medieval Islamic world; how architecture was used as a form of political legitimacy in a period of rival caliphs; and how we might talk about destruction as a productive aspect of architectural patronage.

My other interests include artistic production in the wake of the Arab Spring; the re-imagining of the “medieval” in contemporary arts in the Middle East; and architectural patronage in the Arabian Gulf.

Building the Caliphate: Construction, Destruction, and Sectarian Identity in Early Fatimid Architecture (Yale University Press, forthcoming January 2020)

“The Fatimid Holy City: Destroying and Building Jerusalem in the Eleventh Century,”The Medieval Globe, 2018.

“Monumentalizing the Ephemeral: Ganzeer and the Rise of Cairene Street Art” World Art (2017) 1-23.

“The Three Caliphates, a Comparative Approach,” with Glaire Anderson. The Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, edited by Gülru Necipoğlu and Finbarr B. Flood (Blackwell Companions to Art History), Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017,

Catalog entries on medieval and contemporary art of the Middle East in Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, edited by Laura Weinstein, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts Publications, 2015.

“Miracle at Muqattam: Moving a Mountain to Build a Church in the Early Fatimid Caliphate (969-995),” in Sacred Precincts: Non-Muslim Religious Sites in Islamic Territories, edited by Mohammad Gharipour and Stephen Caffey, Boston: Brill, 2014,

“Method in Madness: Reconsidering the Destruction of Churches in the Fatimid Era,” Muqarnas 30 (2013) 119-139.

Review of In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art (exhibition, Harvard University, Sackler Museum) College Art Association Reviews, 2013.

AH 210: The History of the World in 20 Buildings
AH 373: Great Cities of Islam
AH 305: Islamic Art and Architecture
AH 413: Art in the Age of the Caliphs
AH 440: Art and Power in the Arab World
AH 515/815: Cross-Cultural Encounters in Islamic Art
AH 515/815: Conflict and Coexistence in the Architecture of Medieval Spain
AH 600: From Mecca to Dubai: Current Issues in the Architecture of the Arabian Gulf