Heba Mostafa Photo [HM]

Mostafa, Heba

Assistant Professor

Department of Art History

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Heba Mostafa received her doctorate from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture in 2012, where she also taught courses on Islamic art and architecture. She previously held positions at the American University in Cairo and the Arab Academy for Science and Technology. She holds a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University (2001) and an MA in Islamic Art and Architecture (2006) from the American University in Cairo. Between 2012 and 2014 she was the Sultan Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow/ Visiting Assistant Professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley, in the areas of History of Islamic Art, Architecture, and Urbanism. Between 2015–16 she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence where she explored the role of narrative in shaping sacred space in early Islam. Between 2014–17 she was Assistant Professor of Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism at the Kress Foundation Department of Art History at the University of Kansas.

Heba Mostafa specializes in the history of sacred space, embodiment, and ritual practice in Medieval Islam with a particular interest in the cultural and intellectual history of the central Islamic lands during the first century of the Islamic empire. Her book project, titled “Architecture of Anxiety: Body Politics and the Formation of Early Islamic Architecture,” explores the formation of Islamic architecture through the lens of early Islamic sectarianism and governance, addressing the mediation of political conflict and confessional division through architecture at the intersection of politics and the sacred. She also focuses on Islam’s interface with late antiquity, Christianity and Judaism through commemorative architecture, pilgrimage, and ritual practice, with a focus on Jerusalem and Cairo. Her research reconsiders textual evidence for the early mosque and challenges notions of formal influence in the interpretation of mosque architecture. Her interest in Jerusalem spans multiple time periods and themes to include an examination of Davidic commemoration in Medieval Islamic Jerusalem as well as early Islamic temporality, eschatology, and ritual practice at the Haram al-Sharif. Her most recent publications build upon sacrality in early Islam as well as architecture, ritual practice, temporality, and nature veneration with a focus on Cairene urbanism and Medieval Nile ceremonial practices.


Articles and Book Chapters:

“The Early Mosque Revisited: Introduction of the Minbar and the Maqsura,” Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World, 33, Brill, 2016.

“From the Dome of the Chain to the Miḥrāb Da’ūd: The Transformation of an Umayyad Commemorative Site at al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem,” MuqarnasAn Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World, 34, Brill, 2017.

Mostafa, Heba. “The Appointed Time: Early Islamic Temporality and the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.” In Time and Presence in Art, edited by Armin Bergmeier and Andrew Griebeler,  Sense, Matter and Medium. De Gruyter, 2022.

“Locating the Sacred in Early Islamic Architecture”, The Religious Architecture of Islam, ed. Kathryn Moore and Hasan-Uddin Khan, Brepols, 2021.

“The Nile as Nexus: The Nilometer at al-Rawda Island Between Veneration and Mediation in the Medieval Islamic Period,” Imperial Landscapes: Empires, Societies, and Environments in the Ancient to Modern Nile Delta, Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming, 2022).