Mona Damluji, Mellon postdoctoral fellow in art history

This year Wheaton welcomes Mona Damluji, a Mellon postdoctoral fellow, to the Art History department. Damluji was selected from a large number of candidates who applied for the Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in Art History and looks forward to teaching Middle Eastern studies here.

The grant provides Damluji with a teaching position at Wheaton for the next two years, allowing her the unique opportunity to explore different teaching methods while pursuing extensive research in a field of her interest. Damluji earned her Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation centered on the connection between oil, film, and urban development in Iran and Iraq in the 1940s and 1950s. Damluji is interested and active in Middle Eastern studies, and she plans to bring her enthusiasm for the subject into the classroom.

In addition to her many academic accomplishments, Damluji has also dedicated her time to projects in cultural outreach. As the educational outreach coordinator for the Arab Film Festival, Damluji organized an annual screening for students and teachers in California. She has curated a film series for the University of California Berkeley, centering on the work of women and student filmmakers.

While at Wheaton, Damluji hopes to host an on-campus exhibition of Arab comic art, and has considered organizing a film series in cooperation with the Middle Eastern Studies Club. Next semester, Damluji will teach a class on the Architecture of Islam, exploring the ways in which religious and secular architecture was created under different Islamic empires. She is also working on publishing her second article in the Journal of Urban History and writing her book manuscript.

Damluji plans to conduct research over the summer in film archives located in the United Kingdom in order to gather more information for her book. She hopes to learn more about teaching interdisciplinary courses at a small liberal arts college before pursuing a full-time position as a professor of Middle Eastern studies. Her main goal is to provide her students with a more nuanced understanding of the Middle East by focusing on visual and urban culture.

In addition to teaching about histories of architecture and art, Damluji will offer a seminar next semester that examines the Middle East through a cinematic lens.