Raised in the historic city of Isfahan, Mohammad Gharipour received
his Ph.D. in Architectural Theory and History from Georgia Institute of
Technology in 2008 and Masters of Architecture from the University of Tehran in
2000. He teaches architecture at Morgan State University and is the Director and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. His
areas of research include Japanese traditional and contemporary architecture,
Persianate gardens and architecture, and restorative environments. He is the
recipient of Spiro Kostof fellowship award from the Society of Architectural
Historians (SAH) in 2008 and the author of several publications including Persian Gardens and Pavilions: Reflections in
Poetry, Arts and History(I.B. Tauris, 2013). in 2014, Dr. Gharipour was presented with the National Endowment for Humanities Faculty Award for his research on Synagogues of Isfahan, Iran.
Simonowitz, David. "The Mobile Matrix: The Hijaz Railway as Ritual Space and Generator of Space." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 3, Number 2 (pp. 303-340), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2014.
Despite a revolution two months earlier, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II (r.1876–1909) still sat on the throne upon the inauguration of the Hijaz Railway in September 1908. Dismissed as military strategy or as propaganda, the railway nevertheless signified more to many Muslims. This article examines the Hijaz Railway from an uncommon perspective, beginning with a component of the train largely neglected by scholars, the cami-vagonu or ‘mosque wagon’. A mobile space recapitulating historic loci of Ottoman Islamic ritual, it contributed to the production of an imperial discourse of legitimacy and authority. Within this wagon, the designers reproduced architectural forms and calligraphic motifs to incorporate the railway in a larger representational space. They also deployed modern maps to orient the mosque wagon and represent the railway, linking the calligraphic and the cartographic in a distinctly Ottoman visual-cultural language. These factors would inform the conception and reception of the sultan’s project in local and trans-imperial networks of patronage. The planners of the railway enhanced the functions of this network by sacralizing modern technological resources. In documenting architectural, aesthetic and ritual aspects of the mosque wagon, this study presents a more nuanced picture of the Hijaz Railway and its infrastructure in both the Hamidian and the Second Constitutional periods and explains how it was a ‘pious’ as well as a ‘pragmatic’ project.