Finbarr Barry Flood, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the Humanities

PhD  University of Edinburgh, Islamic Art History, 1993
B.A. Trinity College, Archaeology with Mental and Moral Science, Dublin, 1988

Research interests

Art and architecture of the Islamic world.
Cross-cultural dimensions of Islamic material culture.
Theories and practices of image-making.
Technologies of Representation.
Art historical historiography, methodology, and theory.

Sample courses

The Emergence of Islam and its Mediterranean Milieu.
Before the Mughals: Early Indo-Islamic Material Culture.
Beyond Abstraction and Arabesques: Refiguring Islamic Ornament.
Intercultural Islam: Betwixt and Between in the Medieval Islamic World.


Globalizing Cultures: Art and Mobility in the Eighteenth Century. Co-edited with Nebahat Avcioğlu, a dedicated volume of the journal Ars Orientalis (39, 2011).

Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter. Princeton University Press, 2009.

Piety and Politics in the Early Indian Mosque. Debates in Indian History and Society.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

The Great Mosque of Damascus: Studies on the Makings of an Umayyad Visual Culture. Boston: Brill, 2000.

Articles and Essays:

“Bodies and Becoming: Mimesis, Mediation and the Ingestion of the Sacred in Christianity and Islam,” in Sally M. Promey, ed., Sensational Religion: Sensory Cultures in Material Practice, 459-493. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. Open ODF in new window

“Lost Histories of a Licit Figural Art,” International Journal of Middle East Studies (45/3, 2013), 566-569. Open PDF in new window

“Inciting Modernity? Images, Alterities and the Contexts of “Cartoon Wars,”” in Patricia Spyer and Mary Margaret Steedly, eds., Images That Move (Santa Fe, 2013), 41-72. Open PDF in new window

Intervention: “Presentation, (Re)animation and the Enchantments of Technology,” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics (61/62, 2012), 228-236. Open PDF in new window

“Gilding, Inlay and the Mobility of Metallurgy: A Case of Fraud in Medieval Kashmir,” in Venetia Porter & Mariam Rosser-Owen, eds., Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic World: Art, Craft and Text. Essays Presented to James W. Allan (London, 2012), 131-142. Open PDF in new window

“From Icon to Coin: Potlatch, Piety, and Idolatry in Medieval Islam,” in Gerhard Jaritz, ed., Images, Ritual and Daily Life. The Medieval Evidence, (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2012), 163-172. Open PDF in new window

“Notes from the Field: Anthropomorphism,” Art Bulletin (93/4, March 2012), 18-20. Open PDF in new window

“Christian Mosaics in Jordan and Early Islamic Palestine: A Case of Regional Iconoclasm;” “Faith, Religion and the Material Culture of Early Islam;” “The Qur’an,” along with entries on mosaics, pilgrimage art, and Qur’ans, in Helen Evans, ed., Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012). [Open PDF in new window ‘Faith. religion’ and ‘The Qur’an’]

“Conflict and Cosmopolitanism in Arab Sind,” in Deborah Hutton & Rebecca Brown, eds., A Companion to South Asian Art (Blackwell Companions to Art History) (2011), 365-397.

“Appropriation as Inscription: Making History in the First Friday Mosque of Delhi,” in Richard Brilliant and Dale Kinney, eds., The Mirror of Spolia: Premodern Practice and Postmodern Theory (Malden, MA, 2011), 121-147. Open PDF in new window

“A Ghaznavid Narrative Relief and the Problem of Pre-Mongol Persian Book Painting,” in David Knipp, ed.,Siculo-Arabic Ivories and Islamic Painting 1100-1300, Proceedings of the International Conference, Berlin, 6-8 July 2007 (München, 2011), 257-272.  Open PDF in new window

“Memory in Material and Light/Mémoire de matière et de lumière,” catalog essay for Zarina Hashmi, Noor, Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris, 2011. Open PDF in new window

“Globalizing Cultures: Art and Mobility in the Eighteenth Century,”  essay co-authored with Nebahat Avcioğlu, Ars Orientalis (39, 2011), 7-38. Open PDF in new window

“Conflict and Cosmopolitanism in Arab Sind,” in Deborah Hutton & Rebecca Brown, eds., A Companion to South Asian Art (Blackwell Companions to Art History, 2011), 365-397. Open PDF in new window

Contribution to “Roundtable: The Global before Globalization,” October (133, Summer, 2010), 3-19. Open PDF in new window

“Masons and Mobility: Indic Elements in Twelfth-century Afghan Stone-carving,” in Anna Filigenzi & Roberta Giunta, eds., Fifty Years of Research in the Heart of Eurasia, Insituto Italiano per l’Africa et ;’Oriente, (Rome 2009), 137-160. Open PDF in new window

“La communauté imaginaire,” Qantara, (73, November, 2009) 18-19. Open PDF in new window

“An ambiguous aesthetic: Crusader spolia in Ayyubid Jerusalem.” In Ayyubid Jerusalem: The Holy City in Context, 1187-1250, edited by Robert Hillenbrand and Sylvia Auld, 202-215. London: Altajir Trust, 2009. Open PDF in new window

“Islamic Identities and Islamic Art: Inscribing the Qur’an in Twelfth-century Afghanistan.” In Dialogues in Art History, from Mesopotamian to Modern: Readings for a New Century, edited by Elizabeth Cropper, 91-118. Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 2009. Open PDF in new window

“Lost in Translation: Architecture, Taxonomy and the Eastern ‘Turks’.” Muqarnas 24 (2007): 79-116. Open PDF in new window

“From the Prophet to Postmodernism? New World Orders and the End of Islamic Art.” In Making Art History: A Changing Discipline and its Institutions, edited by Elizabeth Mansfield, 31-53. London & New York: Routledge, 2007. Open PDF in new window

“Image against Nature: Spolia as Apotropaia in Byzantium and the Dar al-Islam.” Mapping the Gaze – Vision and Visuality in Classical Arab Civilisation, a special issue of The Medieval History Journal 9 no. 1 (2006): 143-166. Open PDF in new window

“Correct Delineations and Promiscuous Outlines: Envisioning India at the Trial of Warren Hastings.” Art History 29 no. 1 (2006): 47-78. Open PDF in new window

“Ghurid monuments and Muslim identities: Epigraphy and Exegesis in Twelfth-century Afghanistan.”Indian Economic and Social History Review 42 no. 3 (2005): 263-294.

“Persianate Trends in Sultanate Architecture: The Great Mosque of Bad’aun,” in Bernard O’Kane, ed., The Iconography of Islamic Art, Studies in Honour of Robert Hillenbrand (Edinburgh, 2005), 159-95. Open PDF in new window

“Between Creation and Destruction,” editorial co-authored with Zoë S. Strother, Res (48, 2005), 5-10. Open PDF in new window

“Signs of Violence: Colonial Ethnographies and Indo-Islamic Monuments.”Art and Terror, a special issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art 5 no. 2 (2004): 20-51. Open PDF in new window

“Pillars, Palimpsests and Princely Practices: Translating the Past in Sultanate Delhi.” Res: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 43 (2003): 95-116. Open PDF in new window

“Between Cult and Culture: Bamiyan, Islamic Iconoclasm and the Museum.” Art Bulletin 84 no. 4 (2002): 641-659. Open PDF in new window

“The Medieval Trophy as an Art Historical Trope: Coptic and Byzantine ‘Altars’ in Islamic Contexts.”Muqarnas 18 (2001): 41-72. Open PDF in new window

“Ghurid Architecture in the Indus Valley: the Tomb of Shaykh Sadan Shahid.” Ars Orientalis 36 (2001): 129-166.

“Light in Stone: the Commemoration of the Prophet in Umayyad Architecture.”In Bayt al-Maqdis Part Two: Jerusalem and Early Islam, edited by Jeremy Johns, 311-59. Oxford Studies in Islamic Art, 9, part 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

“The Ottoman Windows in the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa Mosque.”In Ottoman Jerusalem, the Living City: 1517-1917, edited by Sylvia Auld and Robert Hillenbrand, 431-63.London: Altajir World of Islam Trust, 2000. Open PDF in new window

“Umayyad survivals and Mamluk revivals: Qalawunid architecture and the Great Mosque of Damascus.”Muqarnas 14 (1997): 57-79. Open PDF in new window

“Herakles and the ‘Perpetual Acolyte’ of the Buddha: Observations on the Iconography of Vajrapani in Gandharan Art.” South Asian Studies 5 (1989): 17-27. Open PDF in new window

Articles in Press

“Stucco and Glass Windows from the East and West Palaces.” Forthcoming in Raqqa IV: Excavations of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut at Raqqa, Syrian Arab Republic.

Selected Review Articles

Review of Ahmad Ghabin, Hisba, Arts and Craft in Islam (Arabisch-Islamische Welt in Tradition und Moderne, 2009), Speculum (88/2, 2013), 517-520. Open PDF in new window

Review of Oleg Grabar, The Dome of the Rock (Cambridge, Mass., 2006), Journal of Palestine Studies(38/4, 2009) 113-115. Open PDF in new window

Current Research Projects:

Islam and Image: Polemics, Theology and Modernity. A transhistorical exploration of the ‘prohibition of images’ (Bilderverbot) as a perceived characteristic of Islamic cultures. Based on both empirical and theoretical approaches, the book analyses the interrelationships between proscription, prescription, and artistic praxis. To be published by Reaktion Books, London.

Selected Honors:

2014 Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts
2011 winner of the Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies, South Asia Council, for the best English-language work in South Asian studies.
Carnegie Foundation Scholar, 2007-2008
NYU’s Golden Dozen Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2006
Getty Scholar, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 2007
Residential fellow, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., 2006
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2000-2001
Research Fellow, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2001-2002
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Art, Harvard University, 1997
Nasser D. Khalili Research Fellow in Islamic Art and Architecture, University of Oxford, 1993-1995