Hala Auji

Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair for Islamic Art

Associate Professor

Hala, a woman with medium-length curly hair, smiles and looks at the camera.

Department of Art History

Hala Auji is an associate professor of Art History and the Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair for Islamic Art. Auji’s research delves into the complexities of transcultural modernity and contemporaneity within print culture, museum practices, and photography, focusing on eastern Mediterranean communities during the long nineteenth century. Drawing on her interdisciplinary background in graphic design, criticism and theory, and art history, she explores intersections between art history, design history, and comparative literature, particularly within Islamic art, Middle East studies, and global art history. She is also interested in examining the theoretical and methodological challenges of intersectionality in connection to class, gender, race, and ethnicity. Her current book project explores the transregional history of printed portraiture in Ottoman provincial cities during the late nineteenth century, focusing on issues of authenticity, dissemination, and mechanical reproduction, as well as theories of vision. She teaches graduate courses on the history and theory of museums/collections, pedagogies of global art history, and modern and contemporary art of the Middle East, emphasizing postcolonial and decolonial perspectives. At the undergraduate level, her courses cover topics such as Orientalism, nationalism, modernity, and colonialism in connection to Islamic art, contemporary Middle Eastern art, and the long nineteenth century. Auji co-chairs the biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art and leads its associated book series published with Yale University Press. Before joining VCU, she served as an associate professor of Islamic art at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Her research has been supported by fellowships from institutions including the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin), the Houghton Library (Harvard), and the College Art Association. Auji holds a PhD in Art History from Binghamton University, State University of New York, an MA in Criticism and Theory from Art Center College of Design (Pasadena), and a BFA in Graphic Design from the American University of Beirut.