History of Art and Architecture

Shirin Fozi

Assistant Professor

Area of Specialization

Medieval European Art and Architecture


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

Shirin Fozi spends as much time as possible looking at medieval things, with a particular emphasis on objects produced in Germany and France during the tenth through twelfth centuries. Her research is primarily focused on sculpture, and she is especially interested in the large-scale monuments that emerged in northern Europe in the decades around 1100. Now that two major projects – her own monograph on Romanesque tomb effigies and also a co-edited volume on the earliest life-sized crucifixes that survive from medieval Europe – are nearing publication, Fozi is turning her attention to questions about abstraction, style, and identity in programs of architectural sculpture. Some of this work comes out of her interest in medieval treasury arts, including metalwork, ivory, and rock crystal, and she is curious about the ways in which Mediterranean materials were collected and interpreted by northern European travelers in an era associated with pilgrims and crusaders.

These topics are integrated into the courses on medieval art that Fozi teaches at Pitt, which range from introductory surveys to graduate seminars. While Fozi’s research centers 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 requirement for Pitt’s Museum Studies minor. In Fall 2017 she offered 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 modern legacy of medieval art and architecture in Pittsburgh. 

Before joining the faculty in 2013, Fozi was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in medieval art history at Northwestern for three years. During her time as a graduate student at Harvard Fozi also served as a research intern and lecturer at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 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.

Education Details

Ph.D. Harvard University (2010)
M.A. 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

Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant, College Art Association, Spring 2019.

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

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.