A lecture by Emily Neumeier, ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow, The Ohio State University
The discussion of religious architecture in Islamic art history remains resolutely focused on the mosque—the central gathering space for Muslim prayer. Such a view, however, obscures the presence of non-Muslim communities, particularly Christians, who were often a significant minority living under Islamic rule. This talk investigates how one provincial governor from the Ottoman Empire, Tepedelenli Ali Pasha (r. 1784-1822), proved adept at soliciting the support of these multiple confessional groups through the patronage of architecture. Most significantly, Neumeier lays out archival and epigraphic evidence to reveal that Ali Pasha himself commissioned a monastic church complex in what is now southern Albania. By comparing this monument with other religious foundations funded by the governor—from mosques to dervish lodges—she posits a multi-confessional history of Islamic architecture, which can be written on the periphery of empire.