Renata Holod, Ph.D.
College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities, Department of the History of Art
Curator of the Near Eastern Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum
Date appointed: 1987
Renata Holod received her Honors B.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, her M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Harvard University.
She has conducted archaeological and architectural fieldwork in Syria, Iran, Morocco, Central Asia, Turkey, and Ukraine. She completed an archaeological/ethno-historical survey on the island of Jerba, Tunisia. Supported by a Getty Collaborative Grant, she leads a team currently engaged in the analysis of the grave goods of a medieval kurgan from the Black Sea steppe. She has co-authored and edited several books including: City in the Desert: An Account of the Archaeological Expedition to Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi, Syria, Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs XXIII/XXIV, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978; Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today (Aga Khan Award Series), Millerton, NY: Aperture, 1983; Modern Turkish Architecture, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984, 2nd ed. Istanbul, 2005; The Mosque and the Modern World, London: Thames & Hudson, 1997; The City in the Islamic World, Handbook of Oriental Studies 94, Leiden: Brill, 2008; An Island through Time: Jerba Studies I ( Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 71), Portsmouth, RI: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2009. A monograph The Last Kurgan: A Thirteenth Century Prince's Burial in the Black Sea Steppe is in preparation.
Prof. Holod is the Curator of the Near East Section at the Penn Museum. She has curated exhibitions including: "'From the Two Pens': Line and Color in Islamic Art," as a guest curator of the exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art, October–December 2002; and "Line and Letter: Studying a 16th Century Shirazi Manuscript," an exhibition at the Rare Book Gallery in Van Pelt Library, March–May 2005. She works on early Islamic lighting with the Computer Graphics Group@Penn to recreate interior environments in historic buildings. Recently, she co-curated the September 2010–June 2011 exhibition "Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands" at the Penn Museum. The exhibit opened in October 2011 at the Pera Museum, Istanbul, under the name "Osman Hamdi Bey and the Americans."
Prof. Holod has served as Convenor, Steering Committee Member, and Master Jury Chair of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. As architectural consultant, she has worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), Arthur Ericson Architects, Venturi Scott-Brown Architects, Mitchell/Guirgola Associates, H2L2, and Michael Graves & Associates. She is a member of the Scientific Committee for the Foundation Max Van Berchem. She joined the editorial board of Arkheolohiia, journal of the Institute of Archaeology, Kyiv in 2010, and was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Ukrainian Museum, New York, in 2011. She is past-President of the Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA).
Prof. Holod was Clark Professor at Williams College and the Clark Institute in 2002. In 2004, the Islamic Environmental Research Centre honored her with an Award for outstanding work in Islamic Architectural Studies. In 2010 she received the Provost's Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring and was named College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities.