Founding Director - CAMEA
School of Architecture and Built Environment
Faculty of the Professions
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
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
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.
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.
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 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 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
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2015 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Emotions in Place: The Creation of the Suburban 'Other' in Early Modern London Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jade Michelle Riddle 2014 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Imperial Hunting Grounds: A New Reading of Mughal Cultural History Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Shaha Altaf Parpia 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 2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Botanic and Poetic Landscapes: A Reading of Two Persian Texts on Early Safavid Gardens Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Zahra Ranjbari 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
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