Nasser Rabbat is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture at MIT where he has been teaching since 1991. His interests include Islamic art and architecture, medieval urban history and historiography, and post-colonial criticism and its ramifications for the study of architectural history. He teaches courses on architecture in the Islamic world in general, in specific cities, or on particular themes such as environmentally responsive vernacular architecture. His seminars include Islamic urbanism, cultural signification in architecture, and Orientalism.
Professor Rabbat earned his BArch from the University of Damascus, his MArch II from UCLA, and his PhD from MIT. His dissertation "The Citadel of Cairo, 1176-1341: Reconstructing Architecture from Texts" won the 1991 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award from the Middle East Study Association. A book based on the same, The Citadel of Cairo: A New Interpretation of Royal Mamluk Architecture, was published in 1995. Professor Rabbat has a book of essays on architecture in Arabic which will be published in January 2002 by Riad Alrayyes Publisher, Beirut, Lebanon. The book is titled, Thaqafat al Bina1 wa Bina1 al-Thaqafa (The Culture of Building and Building Culture).
He is currently working on two projects: a book on the fifteenth-century historian al-Maqrizi and his Khitat, titled, Historicizing the City: The Significance of Maqrizi's Khitat, which will be published by Brill in 2003, and a book on the problems of representation in Mamluk sources, tentatively entitled, Shaping the Mamluk Image: The Scope of the Sources. He is also co-editing the 1999 Kevorkian Lectures at NYU, which will soon be published under the title, A Medieval Cairo for A Modern World. In addition to publishing essays in scholarly journals on Islamic cultural and architectural history and historiography, architectural criticism, and medieval urbanism, Professor Rabbat is a contributor to the following Arabic journals: Wughat Nazar, Akhbar al-Adab, Jaridat al-Funun, al-Hayat and al-Mustaqbal.
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. Program."The Architecture of Refugees: The Question of Ethics" Cambridge, MA: AKPIA, 2017.
Significant transformations in the world’s political landscape
are signaling the emergence of a new world order
that undermines the certitudes established at the end
of World War II. At the core of such discussions, the concept
of human rights is significantly challenged, calling for
a discussion at the core of ethics for the revisions of the
principles and mechanisms of intervention. In reaction to
these new transformations some have called for a World
Parliament representing the people and not governments
to replace the UN General Assembly.
The workshop addresses the agency of architecture and
design in a context where the disrespect of human rights
is aggravated by the incapacity of global institutions to
react efficiently. What are the ethical questions regarding
the architecture of refugees? What timescales, short
or long terms, represent a priority for architecture and
through which agenda – refugee relief, historical preservation,
camp upgrades and daily life, or rebuilding and resettlement?
What is the role of design in front of the degradation
and destruction of cultural artifacts? How can
design be channeled towards peace building objectives
and possible resettlement projects? What are the material,
technological, systemic responses to address emergency
needs in the context of refugee camps? Includes a schedule and biographies of speakers.