Professor Samer Akkach

Samer Akkach
Founding Director - CAMEA
School of Architecture and Built Environment
Faculty of the Professions

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External Profiles

Professor Samer Akkach

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD — email supervisor to discuss availability.

Research Interests

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

http://ilm-in-islam.org/

 

Journals

Year Citation
2015 Akkach, S. (2015). The Eye of Reflection: Al-Nābulusī’s Spatial Interpretation of Ibn ‘Arabī’s Tomb. Muqarnas: an annual on the visual culture of the Islamic world, 32(1), 79-95.
DOI
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.
DOI Scopus1
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.
DOI
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.
DOI Scopus6
2003 Akkach, S. (2003). The 'wholly other': on the spatiality of the holy in Islam. Architectural Theory Review, 8(2), 39-56.
2003 Akkach, S. (2003). Design and the Question of Eurocentricity. Design Philosophy Papers, 1(6), 1-12.
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.
DOI
2000 Akkach, S. (2000). The burden of difference: rethinking the role of culture in architectural education. Architectural Theory Review, 5(1), 61-64.
DOI
1999 Akkach, S. (1999). Tanzir al-'Amara wa Tajribat al-Hayat al-Yawmiyya. Al-Mustagbal Al-Arabi, 22(248), 92-112.
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.
1998 Akkach, S. (1998). Lu'bat al-Wujud wa Mawaqi ' al-Ashya. Al-Mustqbal Al-Arabi, 236, 125-145.
1997 Akkach, S. (1997). Al-Bahth 'an Dhat dhat Ma'na: Ishkaliyyat Al-Hawiyya fi Al-Amarah. Arab Future, 222, 34-47.
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). The world of imagination in Ibn 'Arabi's ontology. British Journal for Middle Eastern Studies, 24(1), 97-113.
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). Qadaya Mi'mariyyah Mu'asirah: Badihiyyat Matruhah Lil-Tasa'ul. Arab Future, 18(197), 28-37.
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.

Books

Book Chapters

Year Citation
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 (Vol. 4, 3 ed., 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 (1 ed., pp. 61-75). United Kingdom: Routledge.
DOI Scopus2
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 (Vol. 1, 3 ed., 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 (1 ed., 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.

Conference Papers

Conference Items

Year Citation
2015 Akkach, S. (2015). Neo-Eurocentricity and History of Islamic Science. Poster session presented at the meeting of 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. Poster session presented at the meeting of Muqarnas.
2014 Akkach, S. (2014). Islamic Cosmology in the Post-Copernican Period: Reflections on al-Nābulusī’s Views. Poster session presented at the meeting of 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. Poster session presented at the meeting of 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. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies ANZAMEMS - Ninth Biennial Conference. Australia: Monash University.

Theses

Year Citation
2017 Powell, J. F. (2017). The Garden as Art: A New Space for the Garden in Contemporary Aesthetics. (PhD Thesis, University of Adelaide).

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.

Teaching 
  • Representation II, Sem. 2
  • Final Project, Sem. 2

Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2016 Principal Supervisor Role of Indian Trade Textile in The Spread of Islamic Art Styles to Indonesia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr James Bennett
2015 Principal Supervisor The Creation of Social Capital in Urban Spaces Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jade Michelle Riddle
2015 Principal Supervisor Th Evolution of Arabesque system in Carpet Design During Safavid Dynasty and Its Effect to the Present Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Mansoureh Rajabitanha
2014 Principal Supervisor Mighal Gardens: Realities and Representations Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Shaha Altaf Parpia
2013 Co-Supervisor Ideological and Political Trends in Sufism in South Asia in the 1800's Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Unaza Khan
2013 Principal Supervisor History and Theory of Persian Gardens Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Zahra Ranjbari

Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2014 - 2017 Principal Supervisor The Garden as Art: A New Space for the Garden in Contemporary Aesthetics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr John Francis Powell
2013 - 2016 Principal Supervisor The Rise of Modern Urbanity (tamaddun) in the Arab World Education, Journalism, and Enlightenment Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mrs Kinda Alsamara
2012 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Gardens of Damascus: Landscape and the Culture of Recreation in the Early Modern Period Master of Landscape Architecture Master Full Time Miss Georgina Hafteh
2007 - 2014 Principal Supervisor BODY, SOUL, AND ARCHITECTURE
A Study of the Premodern Islamic and Western Traditions
Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Faris Akbar Hajamaideen
2004 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Maps and Meanings: Urban Cartography and Urban Design Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Julie Nichols
2003 - 2008 Co-Supervisor 'Indian Architecture' and the Production of a Postcolonial Discourse: A Study of Architecture + Design (1984-1992) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Shaji Kannanchira Panicker
2002 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Architecture and the Politics of Identity in Indonesia A Study of the Cultural History of Aceh Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Izziah Hasan
1997 - 2004 Principal Supervisor Charters and the Ethics of Conservation A Cross-Cultural Perspective Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Barry Rowney
Position
Founding Director - CAMEA
Phone
83135832
Fax
8313 4377
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Horace Lamb Building, floor 4
Room Number
4 70
Org Unit
School of Architecture & Built Environment

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