Stephennie Mulder is Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a specialist in Islamic art, architectural history, and archaeology. She worked for over ten years as the head ceramicist at Balis, a medieval Islamic city in Syria, and has also conducted archaeological and art historical fieldwork throughout Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and elsewhere in the region.
Her research interests include the art and architecture of Shi’ism, the intersections between art, spatiality, and sectarian relationships in Islam, anthropological theories of art, material culture studies, theories of ornament and mimesis, and place and landscape studies. Dr. Mulder also writes on the contemporary aesthetics of the art of resistance in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Dr. Mulder works on the conservation of antiquities and cultural heritage sites endangered by war and illegal trafficking. She is a consultant for SHOSI, the Saving the Heritage of Syria and Iraq initiative, sponsored by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, the Smithsonian Institute, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is on the Board of Directors for ASOR’s Syrian Heritage Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Dr. Mulder, along with students, faculty and staff, founded UT Antiquities Action, an activist group that raises awareness about the accelerating loss of cultural heritage around the world. She moderates and maintains their lively Facebook group.
Dr. Mulder is the recipient of the Hamilton Book Award Grand Prize, the Syrian Studies Association Award, and Iran’s World Prize for Book of the Year for her book The Shrines of the ‘Alids in Medieval Syria: Sunnis, Shi’s and the Architecture of Coexistence (Edinburgh, 2014). The book was also selected as an ALA Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title. Her articles include “The Mausoleum of the Imam al-Shafi’i,” Muqarnas 23 (2006): 15-46, “Abdülhamid and the ‘Alids: Ottoman patronage of “Shi’i” shrines in the Cemetery of Bāb al-Saghīr in Damascus,” Studia Islamica 108, and “Seeing the Light: Enacting the Divine at Three Medieval Syrian Shrines,” which appeared in a tribute to Renata Holod. She has appeared in media interviews and written editorials for media outlets such as the BBC, IB Times, al-Jazeera, the L.A. Times, Huffington Post, and U.S. News and World Report on cultural heritage issues, Islamic art, antiquities, and the history of sectarian relations in Islam.