Dr. des. Vera-Simone Schulz
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Vera-Simone Schulz is an art historian working at the crossroads of African, Islamic and European art histories and postdoctoral research associate at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut in Florence, Italy. She studied art history, philosophy and Russian literature in Berlin, Moscow and Damascus, holds a PhD in art history from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and undertook extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research has been supported by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, among others. Between 2014 and 2018, 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. Since 2021, she 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, Jacopo Gnisci and Raymond Silverman), and 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, since 2022.
While her doctoral thesis and first book manuscript 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 bringing also material from Africa south of the Sahara (Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kongo and coastal East Africa) into the discussion, her habilitation and second book project moves from Florence as one of the traditional centers of art history to the East African coast, questioning and contributing to the overcoming of traditional notions of periphery and center in the discipline of art history.
Vera is co-convener of “Planetary Patchwork: A Perpetual Seminar on Artistic Practices, Heritage, and Epistemologies” (together with Evi Olde Rikkert and Nicole Remus), 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 Abidemi Babatunde Babalola). Besides her publications in numerous peer-review journals and edited volumes, she is currently co-editing a cluster of essays on “Ecologies of Things and Texts” in the peer-review journal postmedieval (together with Shirin Khanmohamadi), a volume on “Connectivity, Transcultural Entanglements and the Power of Aesthetic Choices in Africa” (together with Abidemi Babatunde Babalola) and a volume titled “Archaeology, Colonialism, and the History of Tourism”.
Vera has been visiting lecturer in the department of art history at the University of Stuttgart (summer semester 2021), visiting lecturer in the master program on global art history at the University of Zurich (winter semester 2021-2022), and visiting lecturer in the department of transcultural studies at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (summer semester 2022).
She is the 2022 CIRN Sanpaolo Visiting Fellow at CRASSH at the University of Cambridge, where she is also a postdoctoral fellow at Wolfson College, and organizing the symposium “Between the Black Mediterranean and the Black Atlantic: Stories of Connectivity and Resistance” at CRASSH in May 2022.
- Transcultural interactions at the crossroads of Islamic, African and European art histories
- Florence, Tuscany and the Apennine peninsula in their Mediterranean and global entanglements
- Islamic art and architecture in a transcultural perspective
- African art history and Afro-Eurasian dynamics
- Plants in Africa and the Global South: Multi-species materialities, ecologies, and aesthetics (MMEA)
- Cross-cultural mobility of artifacts
- Intersections between architecture, objects, and ornamentation
- Artistic dynamics across media and materials
- Transcultural art history