Jennifer Pruitt

Howard and Ellen Louise Schwartz Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture

College of Letters & Science | Department of Art History

Pruitt’s research focuses on architecture in the Arabic-speaking world. her first book, Building the Caliphate: Construction, Destruction, and Sectarian Identity in Early Fatimid Architecture (Yale, 2020), investigates the early architecture of the Fatimids, an Ismaili Shi‘i Muslim dynasty that dominated the Mediterranean world from the 10th to the 12th centuries. It argues that that architecture played a pivotal role in negotiating the kaleidoscope of religious identities in the medieval Islamic world and challenges the assumption that artistic efflorescence was a function of religious tolerance in the medieval Mediterranean. Instead, it argues that conflict and destruction played a crucial, productive role in the formation of medieval Islamic architecture.

She is working currently on a new book project, entitled Inheriting an Islamic Golden Age: Globalism, National Identity, and Invented Histories in the Architecture of the Arabian Gulf. In it, Pruitt investigates the integration of classical forms of Islamic art in the contemporary architecture of the Arabian Gulf, with a focus on the UAE and Qatar. Pruitt’s work has been supported by a First Book Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fulbright, the American Research Center in Egypt, the Institute of Ismaili Studies, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Visual Arts.