Prof. Dr. Vera-Simone Schulz

Assoziierte Wissenschaftlerin

Telefon: +39 055 24911-73

Vera-Simone Schulz is an art historian working at the crossroads of African, Islamic and European art histories and critical museology. She is an associated researcher at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut in Florence and holds the professorship for transcultural art history (W1) at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

Vera studied art history, philosophy and Russian literature in Berlin, Moscow, and Damascus. Her PhD thesis on Florence and Tuscany in their Mediterranean and global entanglements already went beyond the common geographical framework of art historical analyses concerned with Italy and the Islamic world by also discussing material from West, Central and Eastern Africa in this context. It is forthcoming in the form of two monographs “Infiltrating Artifacts: Florence and Tuscany in their Mediterranean and Global Entanglements” and “Florence and Tuscany in a Global Perspective: Complexifying Notions of Connectivity and Resistance”. Her habilitation project and book-in-progress “East Africa’s Elsewheres: Archipelagic Thinking and Transcultural Art Histories” moves from Florence as one of the traditional centers of art history to the East African coast, questioning canons and canonization processes and contributing to the overcoming of traditional notions of periphery and center in the discipline of art history.

Vera has been graduate assistant to the vice-president for research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and academic assistant to the director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut.  She was academic coordinator of the international research project “Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective (4th-17th Cent.)”, funded by the German Research Foundation, and her research has been supported by fellowships of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (KHI), the International Research Center for Cultural Studies (IFK) Vienna, the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and by a residency at the Warburg Institute in London, among others. She was the 2022 CIRN Intesa Sanpaolo Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, where she was also a postdoctoral fellow at Wolfson College, and organized the international symposium “Between the Black Mediterranean and the Black Atlantic: Complexifying Stories of Connectivity and Resistance” at CRASSH and Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge in May 2022.

Vera is PI of the international research project “Material Migrations: Mamluk Metalwork across Afro-Eurasia”, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation (together with Gertrude Aba Mansah Eyifa-Dzidzienyo) with four doctoral and postdoctoral fellows based in Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia and co-convener of the online lecture series “Material Migrations”. In 2022, she was co-PI of the international research project “The Ecology of Ceramics in Coastal Architectural Heritage” in collaboration with Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, funded by the HSS Faculty Research Development Fund of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Liverpool.

She is PI of the international research project “Epistemologies of Conviviality: Temporalities and Aesthetics of the Built Environment across the Horn of Africa and Beyond” funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (together with Elyas Abdulahi and Akram Elkhalifa in collaboration with Jermay Michael Gabriel) that includes the organization of three summer schools in Somalia (online), Eritrea and Ethiopia (in person) in 2025, the hybrid workshop series “Decentering Italian Colonial Heritage in Africa” and the online lecture series “Ecologies, Collections, and Contested Heritage: The (Un-)Natural History of Italian Colonialism in Africa” (together with Jermay Michael Gabriel). In this framework she is also working on a project on Raffaele Rubattino’s Shipping Company and curating a virtual exhibition on “Vessels of (Post-)Colonialism, Vortices of Resistance: The Visual and Material Culture of Ocean Liners” at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte scheduled for autumn 2025.

Vera has taught in several international contexts, including in the master program of global art history at the University of Zurich, in the master program of art history and transcultural studies at the University of Heidelberg, and on the BA and MA level in art history departments in Germany and France.
In 2023, Vera has been a fellow of the TheMuseumsLab program, a platform for dialogue and exchange regarding the future of museums in Africa and Europe, financed by the German Federal Foreign Office and supported by the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Since 2024, she is a member of TheMuseumsLab alumni team.

Vera is actively involved in collaborations with contemporary artists, sounding out possible alliances between academic and artistic research on issues of connectivity and resistance, the environmental humanities, and the digital humanities. Since 2022, she is co-founder and co-convener of the digital project and online seminar series “Planetary Patchwork: A Perpetual Seminar on Artistic Practices, Heritage, and Epistemologies” (together with Evi Olde Rikkert and Nicole Remus). Since 2021, she is co-founder and co-convener of the working group “Plants in Africa and the Global South: Multi-Species Materialities, Ecologies, and Aesthetics (MMEA)”, hosted by the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine (together with Jacques Aymeric Nsangou and Abidemi Babatunde Babalola). 

Besides her publications in numerous international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, Vera recently co-edited a cluster of essays on “Ecologies of Things and Texts” in the peer-reviewed journal postmedieval (together with Shirin A. Khanmohamadi), and is currently co-editing a volume on “Connectivity, Transcultural Entanglements and the Power of Aesthetic Choices in Africa” (together with Abidemi Babatunde Babalola) forthcoming with Leuven University Press, a volume on contested monuments in Africa (together with Fred Mbogo and Lydia Muthuma) forthcoming with Lexington Books, and a volume titled “Archaeology, Colonialism, and the History of Tourism” forthcoming with Springer Publishing.

  • Florence, Tuscany, and Italy in their Mediterranean and global entanglements
  • African art history, cross-Africa, Afro-Eurasian, Indian Ocean and global dynamics
  • Intersections between the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial
  • Colonies for the Medici? Complexifying notions of connectivity and resistance
  • Decentering Italian colonial heritage in Africa (19th-21st cent.)
  • Art historical approaches to archaeological sites
  • Art historical approaches to the history of tourism
  • Art history in dialogue with the environmental and the digital humanities
  • Contemporary art
  • Critical museology
  • Transcultural art history


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