Sheila Sutherland Blair
Professor Sheila Sutherland Blair is Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College, a joint academic post that she shares with her husband, Professor Jonathan Bloom. She received a Ph.D in Fine Arts and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 1980. She has taught at many universities, both in the United States (Boston College, 2000-; Smith College, 2000; Trinity College, 1996-97; Dartmouth College, 1989; Boston University, 1987; University of Pennsylvania, 1982; Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1980-81) and abroad (University of Geneva, 1985 and Pahlavi University, Shiraz, Iran, 1971). From 1987 to 1996 she was the Area Editor for Islam and Central Asia for The Dictionary of Art, a 32-volume encyclopaedia of the arts. She is now at work on her tenth book, Islamic Calligraphy. Her previous books have won international awards, including Islamic Inscriptions (Edinburgh, 1998), winner of the 1999 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for the best work on Middle Eastern studies published in Britain in 1998, and A Compendium of Chronicles: Rashid al-Dins Illustrated History of the World (London, 1995), winner of the 1998 Bahari Prize for the best work on Persian civilisation published between 1996 and 1998. Several of her books were written with Jonathan Bloom, including The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250- 1800, Yale-Pelican History of Art (London and New Haven, 1994; reprint 1995) and Islamic Arts (London, 1997), and have been translated into Greek, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese. Their latest book, Islam: A Thousand Years of Faith and Power (New York, 2000; reprint 2001 and 2002), was written to accompany the three-hour documentary Islam:Empire of Faith, for which they also served as artistic consultants. Sheila Blair is providing the summary remarks for the colloquium, Word of God; Art of Man - The Quran and its Creative Expressions.