History of Art and Architecture

Shirin Fozi

Assistant Professor

Area of Specialization

Medieval European Art and Architecture


Constellation(s): Identity, Mobility/Exchange, Contemporaneity

Shirin Fozi spends as much time as possible looking at medieval things, with a particular emphasis on works of art produced in Germany and France during the tenth through twelfth centuries. Her current research is focused on monumental sculpture, and she is especially interested in the memorials and funerary monuments that began to appear in northern Europe during this period. Now that two major projects – her own monograph on Romanesque tomb effigies and also a co-edited volume on the first generation of life-sized crucifixes to appear in European sculpture – are nearing publication, Fozi is turning her attention to questions about abstraction, artistic style, and national identity in architectural sculpture.  Some of this work comes out of her interest in medieval treasury arts, including metalwork, ivory, and rock crystal, and the ways in which Mediterranean traditions were collected and absorbed by northern European patrons in an era associated with the travels of pilgrims and crusaders.

These research interests are integrated into the courses on medieval art that Fozi teaches at Pitt, from introductory surveys to graduate seminars.  While Fozi’s research remains centered on the period ca. 900-1200, her teaching covers the Middle Ages from ca. 300-1500, and she is always working to include a broader geographic range into every class she offers.  Fozi also takes a keen interest in Museum Studies, and particularly enjoys teaching the course on “History and Ethics of Collecting” that is a core course for Pitt’s Museum Studies minor.  In Fall 2017 she taught an exhibition seminar that culminated in a show on Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms (November 10 – December 8, 2017), and she has many ideas for future University Art Gallery installations that will respond creatively to the presence of medieval art and architecture in Pittsburgh. 

Before joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, Fozi was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in medieval art history at Northwestern. During her time as a graduate student at Harvard, Fozi also served an intern and lecturer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; a museum teacher at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and a curatorial intern at Dumbarton Oaks, where she helped organize a loan exhibition on the theme of the cross in Byzantine art.

Education Details

Ph.D. Harvard University (2010)
A.M. Harvard University (2005)
B.A. Williams College (2001)

Selected Publications

“Reinhildis has died: Ascension and Enlivenment on a Twelfth-Century Tomb,” Speculum 90/1 (January 2015), 158-94.

[Review] Christian Schuffels, Das Brunograbmal im Dom zu Hildesheim (Schnell + Steiner, 2012), in: The Medieval Review, 13.10.24 (2013).

"A Mere Patch of Color: Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Shattered Glass of Reims Cathedral." Memory, Commemoration, and Medieval Europe, edited by Elma Brenner, Meredith Cohen, and Mary Franklin-Brown. Ashgate (2013), pp. 321-44.

Selected Awards

John G. Bowman Travel Grant for Faculty Research, University of Pittsburgh, 2018.

Article of the Month, Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index, February 2015.

Romanik-Forschungspreis for the best unpublished dissertation on a high medieval topic in any humanistic discipline. Europäisches Romanik Zentrum, Merseburg, Germany, 2011.

Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon / American Council of Learned Societies Early Career Fellowship Program, 2009-10.