Pamela Karimi is an architect and an architectural historian. She earned her PhD from the History, Theory & Criticism of Art and Architecture Program at MIT in 2009. Her primary field of specialization is art, architecture, and visual culture of the modern Middle East. Her second area of research is design and sustainability in North America. Before joining the Art History faculty at UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Karimi taught at Brandeis University, NYU, Wellesley College, and Lawrenceville School.
She is the author of Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era (Routledge, 2013), and co-editor of Images of the Child and Childhood in Modern Muslim Contexts (Duke, 2012), Reinventing the American Post-Industrial City (Sage, 2015), & The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East: From Napoleon to ISIS (Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, 2016). Karimi’s book, Alternative Iran: Contemporary Art & Critical Spatial Practice was published by Stanford University Press in August 2022. The book was awarded a Millard Meiss Publication Fund from the College Art Association, as well as a publication grant from the Graham Foundation in Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Her essays and reviews about the modern and contemporary art of the Middle East have appeared in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Harvard Design Magazine, ArtMargins, Jadaliyya, Art Journal, Ibraaz, Bidoun, Honar-e Farda, and the Arab Studies Journal, among others.
Karimi has lectured widely and most recently she contributed to Artefacts of the Future at ICA/Boston, TU Delft’s Global Petroleumscape project, the Oslo Architecture Triennial, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the 2022 Biennale Architettura in Venice. Her major curatorial projects include Urban Renewal and Creative Economy in Massachusetts Gateway Cities and Beyond at the New Bedford Art Museum, Stateless: Artists Respond to the Refugee Crisis in the University Art Gallery at UMass Dartmouth, Black Spaces Matter: Exploring the Aesthetics and Architectonics of an Abolitionist Neighborhood at the Boston Architectural College’s McCormick Gallery, and Contemporary Iranian Art & the Historical Imagination at the CVPA Campus Gallery.
She has held fellowships from the Iran Heritage Foundation at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the American Association of University Women, and the Society of Architectural Historians. Karimi has been the co-recipient of the University of Massachusetts Creative Economy Fund twice in 2012 and 2016. In 2014 she earned the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Green Award. In 2018 she received the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. More recently Karimi was the co-recipient of a major grant from the Connecting Art Histories Initiative at the Getty Foundation, which will undertake extensive research on courses, programs, and alternative educational platforms in the fields of art history, architectural studies, and archaeology throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Co-founder of The Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and a former member of the editorial team of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Karimi currently serves on the editorial and scholarly boards of Thresholds (MIT Press) and the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey, respectively. Karimi is the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at UMass Dartmouth and the Community Engagement Initiatives at the CVPA.