Pamela Karimi, PhD


Art Education, Art History, & Media Studies

Department Profile 


Pamela Karimi is an architect and a historian of art and architecture. She earned her PhD from the History, Theory & Criticism of Art and Architecture Program at MIT in 2009. Her primary field of specialization is art, architecture, and visual culture of the modern Middle East. Her second area of research is design and sustainability in North America. Before joining the Art History faculty at UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Karimi taught at Brandeis University, NYU, Wellesley College, and Lawrenceville School. She is the author of Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era (Routledge, 2013) and co-editor of Images of the Child and Childhood in Modern Muslim Contexts (Duke, 2012), Reinventing the American Post-Industrial City (Sage, 2015) & The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East: From Napoleon to ISIS (Aggregate Architectural Collaborative, 2016). Karimi’s most recent book, titled Alternative Iran: Contemporary Art & Critical Spatial Practice, was published by Stanford University Press in 2022. The book was the recipient of the 2021 Millard Meiss Publication Fund from the College Art Association and the 2022 publication grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Her forthcoming book, Women, Art, Freedom: Artists and Street Politics in Iran will be published by Leuven University Press in September 2024. Her essays and reviews about the modern and contemporary art of the Middle East have appeared in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Science Journal, Hyperallergic, Harvard Design Magazine, ArtMargins, Jadaliyya, Art Journal, Ibraaz, Bidoun, Honar-e Farda, Mohit. Art and the Arab Studies Journal, among others. Karimi has lectured widely and most recently she contributed to Artefacts of the Future at ICA/Boston, TU Delft’s Global Petroleumscape project, Oslo Architecture Triennial and Chicago Architecture Biennial. Her major curatorial projects include Urban Renewal and Creative Economy in Massachusetts Gateway Cities and Beyond at the New Bedford Art Museum, Stateless: Artists Respond to the Refugee Crisis in the University Art Gallery at UMass Dartmouth, Black Spaces Matter: Exploring the Aesthetics and Architectonics of an Abolitionist Neighborhood at the Boston Architectural College’s McCormick Gallery, Contemporary Iranian Art & the Historical Imagination at the CVPA Campus Gallery, and and Echoes of a Rebellion at Dedee Shattuck Gallery. Karimi innovatively intertwines curatorial and interactive art projects into her teaching, fostering active student participation while providing insights into significant moments in the history of art and architecture. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University, Käte Hamburger Kolleg für Apokalyptische und Postapokalyptische Studien at the University of Heidelberg, the Iran Heritage Foundation at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the American Association of University Women, and the Society of Architectural Historians. Karimi has been the co-recipient of the University of Massachusetts Creative Economy Fund twice in 2012 and 2016. In 2014 she earned the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Green Award. In 2018 she received the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. More recently Karimi was the co-recipient of a major grant from the Connecting Art Histories Initiative at the Getty Foundation, which will undertake extensive research on courses, programs, and alternative educational platforms in the fields of art history, architectural studies, and archaeology throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Co-founder of Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and a former member of the editorial team of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Karimi currently serves on the editorial and scholarly boards of Thresholds Journal (MIT Press) and the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey, respectively. Karimi is the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Community Engagement Initiatives at UMass Dartmouth.