Hello! I’m Glaire Anderson, award-winning author and expert in Islamic architecture, art and history during the caliphal period (c.650-1250) with a focus on Cordoba.
I’m an advocate for the power of Islamic visual culture to reveal a more diverse and interconnected global history. My aim is to make Islamic art and history accessible to all through games, GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) and education.
My current research focuses on gaming and digital cultural heritage and I work with game developers and creative industry professionals who share my values and aims. I have a longstanding interest in digital technologies for visualizing art and architecture. I founded and lead the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections to explore mixed reality for immersive experiences of medieval Islamic spaces and objects.
As a historian I focus on Umayyad Cordoba in its international contexts: Abbasid Baghdad and Samarra, Fatimid Cairo, and Damascus and the Umayyad territories of greater historic Syria. My first book examined the elite villas (munyas) at the heart of Cordoban court culture. I’ve also written on the court’s powerful women and eunuchs, as ‘makers’ of early Islamic art and architecture. My second book (contracted for publication with Oxford University Press) explores early Islamic science and visual culture through the career of the 9th c. Cordoban polymath ‘Abbas Ibn Firnas, remembered today as an early Islamic ‘scientist,’ and for his experiment in early human flight.
Currently I’m Senior Lecturer in Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh and Research Affiliate, Edinburgh Futures Institute. Before arriving in Edinburgh in 2018 I was Associate Professor of Art History with tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I taught Islamic art history since 2006. Before that I held visiting lectureships at Boston Architectural College, Dartmouth College, and Brandeis University.
I earned my PhD at MIT in 2005 in the History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.