headshot of Jane McAuliffeJane McAuliffe is the inaugural director of national and international outreach at the Library of Congress. Her previous positions include director of the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, president of Bryn Mawr College, and dean of arts and sciences at Georgetown University. McAuliffe has written extensively on Islam and the Qur’an: Qur’anic Christians (1991); ʿAbbasid Authority Affirmed (1995); With Reverence for the Word (2002); Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an (2006, six volumes and online); Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an (2006); Norton Anthology of World Religions: Islam (2014); and The Qur’an: A Norton Critical Edition (2016). She is past president of the American Academy of Religion and a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

headshot of Francois-derocheFrançois Déroche is currently professor at the Collège de France in Paris, teaching the history of the Qur’an. He is a specialist of Arabic manuscripts with a special interest in the history of the written transmission of the Qur’an. He worked at the Bibliothèque nationale and then at the French Institute in Istanbul before joining the Ecole pratique des hautes études. He has published on codicology (with other contributors, Islamic codicology. An introduction to the study of manuscripts in Arabic script, 2006) and early Qur’anic manuscripts (La transmission écrite du Coran dans les débuts de l’islam. Le codex Parisino-petropolitanus,2009; Qur’ans of the Umayyads, 2014).


headshot of Alya-KarameAlya Karame is a post-doctoral fellow in the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence – Max-Planck-Institut and currently based at the Islamic art museum in Berlin.Her research interests lie in the art of the Islamic book. The focus of her PhD (University of Edinburgh) is on Qur’ans and their transformations between the fourth/tenth and sixth/twelfth centuries. She completed her MA in history of art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2011. As a graphic designer with an interest in the visual culture of the region, Karame previously taught design, visual culture, and art of calligraphy courses.


headshot of Shiela BlairSheila Blair shares the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College and the Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair in Islamic Art at Virginia Commonwealth University with her husband and colleague, Jonathan Bloom. Her special interests are the arts of the Mongol period and the uses of writing. In addition to her survey Islamic Calligraphy (Edinburgh, 2006), she has completed chapters on manuscripts and epigraphy for the Oxford Handbook of Qurʾanic Studies and co-authored with her husband a chapter on the Islamic book for the The [Oxford] Illustrated History of the Book.


headshot of Alison-OhtaAlison Ohta is the director of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. She completed her doctoral thesis at SOAS, University of London, on bindings of the Mamluk period (1250–1516). She has lectured and published widely on the subject. Her forthcoming article in a volume of essays in honor of Professor Doris Behrens-Abouseif considers the bindings of Sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri (1501–16).



headshot of Nourane-Ben-AzzounaNourane Ben Azzouna is associate professor of Islamic art history at the University of Strasbourg. Her work mainly focuses on the history of manuscript production and calligraphy in the medieval period. Among her publications is a monograph written with Markus Ritter, Der Goldkoran aus der Zeit der Seldschuken und Atabegs / The Golden Qur ’an from the Age of the Seljuks and Atabeg (Graz, 2015).



headshot of Unver RustemÜnver Rüstem is assistant professor of Islamic art and architecture at Johns Hopkins University. He received his PhD from Harvard University and has held fellowships at Columbia University and the University of Cambridge. His research centers on the Ottoman Empire in its later centuries and on questions of cross-cultural exchange and interaction. He has published on subjects ranging from the use and reception of illustrated Islamic manuscripts to the semantic role of ceremonial in the context of Ottoman architecture.


headshot of Elaine WrightElaine Wright has been curator of the Islamic collections at the Chester Beatty Library since early 1998. She is responsible for the care, management, and public display of the library’s more than 6,000 Islamic manuscripts and single-page paintings and calligraphies. Wright also is head of the library’s Arabic Manuscripts Project, overseeing the production of a new and detailed catalogue of its more than 2,600 non-Qur’anic Arabic manuscripts. As part of the latter project, she was responsible for the establishment of the Islamic Seals Database. She is the primary author of Lapis and Gold, Chester Beatty’s Ruzbihan Qur’an.


headshot of Simon RettigSimon Rettig is assistant curator of Islamic art at the Freer|Sackler. He previously worked at the French Research Institute in Istanbul and the Freie Üniversität in Berlin. Rettig received a BA from the École du Louvre in Paris and his doctorate from the Université de Provence Aix-Marseille I. He has published several articles on the arts of the book from the Islamic world, including “A ‘Timurid-like Response’ to the Qur’an of Gwalior? Manuscript W563 at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore,” in Éloïse Brac de la Perrière and Monique Burési, eds., Le coran de Gwalior: Polysémie d’un manuscrit à peintures (Paris, 2016). Rettig also curated the 2014 exhibition Nasta‘liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy at the Freer|Sackler.


headshot of Alain GeorgeAlain George (D.Phil., Oxford, 2007) is senior lecturer in Islamic art at the University of Edinburgh. He has published numerous studies on early Qur’ans, including the book The Rise of Islamic Calligraphy, which charts the first three centuries of this art form. In 2010, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for his research. He is currently preparing a book about the Great Mosque of Damascus in Umayyad times and a catalogue of the Qur’an manuscripts in the Al-Sabah collection (Kuwait).


headshot of Nina ErginNina Ergin is associate professor in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at Koç University, Istanbul. She specializes in Ottoman architectural history—in particular, the “lesser” monuments within its canon, such as bathhouses and soup kitchens, as well as sensory aspects of the built environment. Ergin’s recent articles include “Ottoman Royal Women’s Spaces: The Acoustic Dimension,” Journal of Women’s History 26/1 (2014), and “The Fragrance of the Divine: Ottoman Incense Burners and Their Context,” The Art Bulletin 96/1 (2014), for which she received the Journal of Women’s History’s Third Biannual Best Article Award and the Ömer Lütfi Barkan Article Prize, respectively.