Akel Ismail Kahera


Akel Ismail Kahera is Dean of the School of the Arts, Virginia Common- wealth University in Doha, Qatar (VCUQatar). He received his bachelor’s in architecture from Pratt Institute; his master’s in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and his Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University. His over twenty-five years of research and teaching has focused on history and theory; culture and aesthetics; sustainable design; urbanism and the practices of culture and local knowledge; Islamic art and architecture; poetry; jazz; and the Foucauldian theory of space/power/knowledge.

He is the author of more than three dozen scholarly essays on the theory of architecture and urbanism, as well as three books: Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space Gender and Aesthetics (University of Texas Press, 2002); Design Criteria for Mosques (co-author, Architectural Press, 2009); and Reading the Islamic City (Rowman and Littlefield/Lexington Press, 2011).

His seminal text, Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender & Aesthetics, has substantially altered views of the history and theory of mosque architecture in the United States and the complex cultural patterns of diaspora. In Collaboration with Sunset Video (Houston, Texas) he has produce four ethnographic documentaries on the lives of African Americans in Texas. Dr. Kahera sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.


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