The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is delighted to welcome Professor Matthew Canepa as the new Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran, established thanks to an endowment from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute in 2017. Professor Canepa’s appointment is within the UCI School of Humanities’ Department of Art History and Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies, and affiliated with the UCI Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies.
Professor Canepa is an award-winning historian of art, archaeology and religions of Persia and wider Iranian world. He comes to UCI from the University of Minnesota where he was a Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art History and affiliated faculty in Classical Near Eastern Studies. He has held visiting positions at Merton College, Oxford, where he was Senior Research Fellow, and L’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, where he served as Directeur d’études invité. He earned his Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago and his B.A. in Art History and Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Professor Canepa is the author of two books, an edited volume, and several book chapters and articles. His most recent book, The Iranian Expanse (University of California Press, 2018), is a large-scale study of the transformation of Iranian cosmologies, landscapes and architecture from the height of the Achaemenids to the coming of Islam. His first book, entitled The Two Eyes of the Earth (University of California Press, 2009; paperback edition, 2017), is an award-winning and pioneering comprehensive study of the artistic, ritual and ideological interactions between the late Roman and Sasanian empires. It was awarded the 2010 James Henry Breasted Prize from the American Historical Association for best book in English on any field of history prior to the year 1000 CE and the Archaeological Institute of America’s von Bothmer Publication Fund.
Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and its Founder and Chair, Dr. Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, extend a warm welcome to Professor Matthew Canepa as our new Chair at UCI.