Professor Samer Akkach
Samer joined the University of Adelaide in 1993. He moved from Sydney where he received his Master of Architectural Design from the University of New South Wales in 1985, and his PhD from the University of Sydney in 1992.
Samer is an established scholar in two fields of study: architectural history and theory and Islamic studies. He has a cross-cultural background, interdisciplinary research interests, and a unique mix of expertise. The spectrum of his expertise include:
- History and theory of architecture and landscape in general, and of Islamic art, architecture and landscape in particular.
- Intellectual history of the Arab-Islamic and Ottoman traditions in the early modern period (16th - 19th centuries), with a special focus on the Enlightenment and transitions into modernity in both the European and the Arab-Ottoman worlds.
- Socio-urban history of Middle Eastern cities in general, and Damascus in particular, during the early modern period, with special focus on the rise of urban secularism.
- Islamic cosmology (pre- and post-Copernican traditions), philosophy (pre- and early modern), and mysticism (pre- and early modern).
- History of Arab-Islamic science in the post-copernican period.
Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA)
Samer is Founding Director of the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA), which was founded in 1997. CAMEA's establishment coincided with major shifts in peoples’ attitudes towards the built environment caused by unsettling changes in three areas: environment, technology, and culture.
- Awareness of the long-term environmental consequences of modern urbanisation and industrialisation has highlighted the urgent need for new approaches to a sustainable future;
- Advanced communication technologies have called for new ways of perceiving and dealing with reality; and
- Intense cross-cultural interactions have generated a strong demand for broader and more culture-sensitive modes of architectural thinking.
CAMEA was founded to address the demand for new cross-cultural understanding of architecture in the context of these major global shifts. Despite the growing recognition of the importance of understanding cultural diversity, the foundations of most conventional approaches to the study of the constructed environments remain firmly seated in the European tradition. One of CAMEA’s long-term goals is to address the problems of Eurocentrism by opening up new horizons of thinking about our modern and pre-modern architecture, landscape, and urbanity. CAMEA's publications include:
S. Akkach et al (eds), Self, Place, and Imagination: Cross-Cultural Thinking in Architecture (Adelaide: CAMEA, 1999, 2nd printing 2000).
S. Akkach (ed.), De-Placing Difference: Architecture, Culture and Imaginative Geography (Adelaide: CAMEA, 2002, 2nd printing 2006).
P. Scriver (ed.), The Scaffolding of Empire (Adelaide: CAMEA, 2007).
CAMEA Fifth International Conference, July 20-23, 2016
'Ilm: Science, Religion, and Art in Islam
|2015||Akkach, S. (2015). The Eye of Reflection: Al-Nābulusī’s Spatial Interpretation of Ibn ‘Arabī’s Tomb. G. Necipoglu (Ed.). Muqarnas: an annual on the visual culture of the Islamic world, 32, 1, 79-95. 10.1163/22118993-00321P06|
|2012||Akkach, S. (2012). The wine of babel: landscape, gender and poetry in early modern Damascus. Lonaard Magazine, 7, 2, 76-90.|
|2010||Akkach, S. (2010). Leisure gardens, secular habits: The culture of recreation in Ottoman Damascus. Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi. Mimarlik Fakultesi. Dergisi, 27, 1, 67-80. 10.4305/METU.JFA.2010.1.4|
|2007||Akkach, S. (2007). Adrian Snodgrass and Richard Coyne, Interpretations in Architecture: design as a way of thinking. Architectural Theory Review, 12, 2, 217-219. 10.1080/13264820701730934|
|2007||Akkach, S. (2007). The spatiality of the cross in Islamic architecture and landscape. TAASA Review, 16, 1, 4-6.|
|2007||Akkach, S. (2007). The Wine of Babel: landscape, gender and poetry in early modern Damascus. Literature and Aesthetics, 17, 1, 107-124.|
|2005||Akkach, S. (2005). The poetics of concealment: Al-Nabulusi's encounter with the Dome of the Rock. Muqarnas, 22, 1, 110-127. 10.1163/22118993-90000086|
|2003||Akkach, S. (2003). Design and the Question of Eurocentricity. Design Philosophy Papers, 1, 6, 1-12.|
|2003||Akkach, S. (2003). The 'wholly other': on the spatiality of the holy in Islam. Architectural Theory Review, 8, 2, 39-56.|
|2002||Akkach, S. (2002). Religious mapping and the spatiality of difference. Thresholds (Cambridge), 25, 68-75.|
|2001||Akkach, S. (2001). Imaginary geography and the land of (virtual) reality: Reflections on the cosmology of cyberspace. Architectural Theory Review, 6, 1, 16-32. 10.1080/13264820109478413|
|2000||Akkach, S. (2000). The burden of difference: rethinking the role of culture in architectural education. Architectural Theory Review, 5, 1, 61-64. 10.1080/13264820009478387|
|1999||Akkach, S. (1999). Al-'Anara al-'Arabiyya al-Mu'asira 'ala Masharif al-Qarn al-Jadid. Al-Mustagbal Al-'Arabi, 22, 248, 88-92.|
|1999||Akkach, S. (1999). Tanzir al-'Amara wa Tajribat al-Hayat al-Yawmiyya. Al-Mustagbal Al-Arabi, 22, 248, 92-112.|
|1998||Akkach, S. (1998). Lu'bat al-Wujud wa Mawaqi ' al-Ashya. Al-Mustqbal Al-Arabi, 236, 125-145.|
|1997||Akkach, S. (1997). The world of imagination in Ibn 'Arabi's ontology. British Journal for Middle Eastern Studies, 24, 1, 97-113.|
|1997||Akkach, S. (1997). Ibn 'Arabi's Cosmogony and the Sufi concept of space and time. Disputatio : An International Transdisciplinary Journal of the Late Middle Ages, 2, Construction of time in the Late Middle Ages, 115-142.|
|1997||Akkach, S. (1997). Al-Bahth 'an Dhat dhat Ma'na: Ishkaliyyat Al-Hawiyya fi Al-Amarah. Arab Future, 222, 34-47.|
|1996||Akkach, S. (1996). Review of Dialogue on the Structure of Art and Architecture. Arab Future, 213, 139-147.|
|1995||Akkach, S. (1995). In the image of the cosmos: Order and symbolism in traditional Islamic architecture (Part 2). Islamic Quarterly, xxxix, 2, 90-106.|
|1995||Akkach, S. (1995). In the image of the cosmos: Order and symbolism in traditional Islamic architecture (Part 1). Islamic Quarterly, xxxix, 1, 5-17.|
|1995||Akkach, S. (1995). Qadaya Mi'mariyyah Mu'asirah: Badihiyyat Matruhah Lil-Tasa'ul. Arab Future, 18, 197, 28-37.|
|2018||S. Akkach (Ed.) (2018). ʿIlm: Science, Religion, and Art in Islam. Adelaide: Adelaide university Press.|
|2017||Akkach, S. (2017). Istanbul Observatory. Beirut: Arab Centre for Research and Policy Study.|
|2015||Akkach, S. (2015). Damascene Diaries: A Reading of the Cultural History of Ottoman Damascus in the 18th Century. Beirut: Bissan.|
|2012||Akkach, S. (2012). Intimate invocations: Al-Ghazzi's biography of Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (1641-1731). Netherlands: Brill. 10.1163/9789004216716_002|
|2010||Akkach, S. (2010). Letters of a Sufi scholar : the correspondence of ʻAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī, 1641-1731. Netherlands: Brill.|
|2007||Akkach, S. (2007). Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi: Islam and the Enlightenment. Oxford, England: Oneworld.|
|2005||Akkach, S. (2005). Cosmology and architecture in premodern Islam - An architectural reading of mystical ideas. 194 Washington Ave, Suite 305, Albany, NY, 12210-2365: State University of New York Press.|
|2002||S. Akkach (Ed.) (2002). De-placing Difference: Architecture, Culture and Imaginative Geography. Adelaide, South Australia: Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture, the University of Adelaide.|
|2000||S. Akkach, S. Fung & P. Scriver (Eds.) (2000). Self, place & imagination : cross-cultural thinking in architecture. Centre for Asian & Middle Eastern Architecture, University of Adelaide.|
|2018||Akkach, S. (2018). Islamic Science and Cosmology in the Post-Copernican Period: Reflections on ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī’s Views. In L. Demiri & S. Pagani (Eds.), Early Modern Trends in Islamic Theology: ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī and his Network of Scholarship Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck.|
|2018||Parpia, S. (2018). The Imperial Mughal Hunt as a Pursuit of Knowledge. In S. Akkach (Ed.), 'Ilm: Science, Religion and Art in Islam|
|2017||Akkach, S. (2017). Aural Geometry: Poetry, Music, and Architecture in the Arabic Tradition. In M. Frishkopf & F. Spinetti (Eds.), Music, Sound and Architecture in Islam Texas: University of Texas Press.|
|2015||Akkach, S. (2015). Beautiful names of God. In K. Fleet, G. Krämer, D. Matringe, J. Nawas & E. Rowson (Eds.), The Encyclopaedia of Islam - Three (pp. 54-57). Leiden, Boston: Brill.|
|2014||Akkach, S. (2014). Modernity and design in the Arab world: Professional identity and social responsibility. In E. Kalantidou & T. Fry (Eds.), Design in the Borderlands (pp. 61-75). United Kingdom: Routledge.|
|2012||Akkach, S. (2012). 'Abd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī. In K. Fleet, G. Krämer, D. Matringe, J. Nawas & E. Rowson (Eds.), THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF ISLAM - THREE (pp. 20-28). Leiden, Boston: Brill.|
|2011||Akkach, S. (2011). The Presence of absence: sacred design now (2). In A. Willis (Ed.), Design Philosophy Papers - Collection Six (pp. 63-70). Australia: Team D/E/S Publications.|
|2005||Akkach, S. (2005). Design and the Question of Eurocentricity: a Personal Reflection. In Design Philosophy Papers: Collection Two (pp. 87-91). Leiden, Boston: Team D/E/S Publications.|
|2002||Akkach, S. (2002). On Culture. In De-placing difference: architecture, culture and imaginative geography (pp. 183-189). Adelaide, South Australia: Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture, the University of Adelaide.|
|2002||Akkach, S. (2002). Useful obsessions: Architecture as a cultural critique. In A. Salama, W. O'Reilly & K. Noschis (Eds.), Architectural Education Today - Cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 31-41). Lausanne: Comportements.|
|2002||Akkach, S. (2002). Mapping difference: On the Islamic concept of fada'il. CAMEA International Symposium. Samer Akkach (Ed.) Adelaide, Australia.|
|2000||Akkach, S. (2000). Framing the holy: Islamic Jerusalem in history and travel memoirs. International Symposium of The Centre for Asian Environments. M. Gusheh (Ed.) Sydney, Australia.|
|2015||Akkach, S. (2015). Neo-Eurocentricity and History of Islamic Science. Rethinking Intellectual History 2015. University of Sydney, Australia.|
|2015||Akkach, S. (2015). The eye of reflection: Al-Nabulusi's spatial interpretation of Ibn 'Arabi's tomb.|
|2014||Akkach, S. (2014). Islamic Cosmology in the Post-Copernican Period: Reflections on al-Nābulusī’s Views. Early Modern Trends in Islamic Theology: 'Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi and his Network of Scholarship. Centre for Islamic Theology, University of Tubingen, Germany.|
|2014||Akkach, S. (2014). Neo-Eurocentricity and Islamic Intellectual History in the Post-Copernican Period. The Islamic World in the 18th Century: Before Colonialism. The NYU Abu Dhabi Institute, UAE.|
|2013||Akkach, S. (2013). Damascene Diaries: Urban Secularity and Religious Tolerance. Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference. Melbourne, Australia.|
Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grants
2012-15: Islam and the Ethos of Science in the Post-Copernican Period
(Sole Chief Investigator, recieved ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA)).
2009-11: Islam and Secular Urban Culture in Early Modern Middle East
(Sole Chief Investigator)
2006-09: Islam, Modernity and the Enlightenment: A New Perspective
(Sole Chief Investigator)
Awards and Achievements
2015-2016 Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies' Prize for Research in Humanities and Social Science
2012-15 Australian Research Council's Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA).
2010-11 Visiting Professorship, Arab International University, Damascus.
2010 Honorary Fellowship, Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi’s Society, Oxford and Berkeley.
2010 Australian Institute of Architects' Neville Quarry Architectural Education Prize http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?page=13970
2009 Hamad bin Khalifa fellowship for Islamic Art.
2003 University of Adelaide’s Stephen Cole the Elder prize for excellence in teaching.
2002 Visiting Research Fellowship at MIT, The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.
2001 Society of Architectural Historians of North America’s Fellowship.
Representation II, Sem. 2
Final Project, Sem. 2
Sareh Abooali (PhD), In Search of Beauty: Vision, Imagination, and the Arts in Safavid Iran
James Bennett (PhD), An Examination of the Role of Indian Trade Textiles in the Spread of Islamic Art Styles to Indonesia with Reference to the Michael Abbott AO QC Collections
Unaza Khan (PhD), Sufi Revivalism Past to the Present: Political and Religious Context of the Sufi Orders in South Asia
Shaha Parpia (PhD), The Mughal Hunting Grounds: A New Perspective on Islamic Landscape
John Powell (PhD), Garden Art and Philosophical Aesthetics
Mansoureh Rajabitanha (PhD), Woven Pleasure: Rethinking the Design and Meaning of Persian Carpet during the Safavid Period (1501-1722 CE)
Zahra Ranjbari (PhD), Gardens of Eden: A Study of Islamic Landscapes in the Early Safavid Period
Jade Riddle (PhD), Spatial Narratives of Grub Street: Duality in the Early Modern Period
Kinda Samara (MPhil), The Rise of Modern Urbanity (tamaddun) in the Arab World: Education, Journalism, and Enlightenment
Perri Sparnon (Honours), Revelation and Reason: The Development of Islamic Cosmology, 7th-19th century
Ahmad Sukkar (PhD), Structures of Light: The Body and Architecture in Premodern Islam
Faris Hajamaideen (PhD), Body, Soul, and Architecture: A Study of the Premodern Islamic and Western Traditions
Julie Nichols (PhD), Maps and Meanings: Urban Cartography and Urban Design