Farshid Emami
  • Assistant Professor of Islamic Art History


  • PhD, history of art and architecture, Harvard University, 2017
  • MS, architecture studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011 
  • MA, urban design, University of Tehran, 2007 
  • BA, architecture, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, 2004


I am a historian of Islamic art and architecture with a focus on the early modern period, and particularly Safavid Iran. My current book project, which is based on my PhD dissertation, offers a new interpretation of 17th-century Isfahan, the Safavid capital, through the analytical lens of city experience.

Part of my research has been published in an essay entitled “Coffeehouses, Urban Spaces, and the Formation of a Public Sphere in Safavid Isfahan.” I have also written on a range of topics in Islamic art and architectural history, including lithography in 19th-century Iran and modernist architecture in the Middle East.

At Oberlin, I teach an introductory course on Islamic art and architecture, an intermediate course on cities and monuments of the Islamic world, and a seminar on the intersections of architecture and literature. In 2018–19, I will teach courses on arts of the book and global history of coffeehouses.

  • “Coffeehouses, Urban Spaces, and the Formation of a Public Sphere in Safavid Isfahan,”  Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World 33 (2016): 177-220. 
  • “The Lithographic Image and its Audiences,” in Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, ed. David J. Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Art Museums, 2017), 51-79. 
  • “Urbanism of Grandiosity: Planning a New Urban Centre for Tehran (1973-1976),” International Journal of Islamic Architecture 3, no. 1 (2014): 69-102.


  • Farshid Emami Gives Talk

    December 5, 2017

    Farshid Emami, assistant professor of Islamic art history, gave a talk titled "Safavid Shahrashub: Literary Form and City Experience in Seventeenth-century Isfahan" on September 29 at the Comparative Persianate Aesthetics Symposium at Boston University.