ISIS-Interdisciplinary Seminar on Islamic Studies. Localizing Islam through Transnational Influences
Azra Akšamija is a Sarajevo born artist and architectural historian. Akšamija graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University Graz, Austria in 2001, and received her M.Arch. from Princeton University, USA in 2004, and Ph.D. from MIT (HTC / AKPIA) in 2011. In her multi-disciplinary practice, she investigates the potency of art and architecture to facilitate the process of transformative mediation in cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provide a framework for researching, analyzing, and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Her recent work focuses on representation of Islamic identities in the West, spatial mediation of identity politics, and cultural pedagogy through art and architecture.
Akšamija’s academic research highlights the significance of ethnic symbols, long-term cultural factors, and global cultural flows in the creation of contemporary nations. In her Ph.D. dissertation, Akšamija examined how Bosnian Muslims construct their identity through the lens of rebuilt or newly built mosques following the systematic destruction of religious architecture during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. Her academic inquiry informs her ongoing artistic explorations about Islam in the West and the conflicts over visibility of Muslims in the United States and Europe.