BA in Art History

Sana Mirza, 2009

Sana Mirza

So what are you up to now professionally?

I’m a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. My dissertation focuses on Qur’an manuscripts produced in the city of Harar, Ethiopia from the 17th to 19th centuries. While little-known, these manuscripts open a rare window onto the complex visual culture of the Horn of Africa, one actively participating in a diverse artistic milieu of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Additionally, I’m a museum research fellow at the Freer|Sackler in Washington, D.C.  At the Freer|Sackler, I have had the amazing opportunity to aid on an exhibition, The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (on view until February 20, 2016) as well as develop content for the accompanying website.

How do you think your Art History major at Mason prepared you for your career?

Mason provided me with a strong foundation for graduate school. I double majored in Art History and History and minored in Islamic Studies. These courses introduced me to art history methodology and provided me a basis to continue to pursue advanced study of Islamic Art. Additionally, my experience at Mason allowed me to develop strong research skills and become comfortable with digital research tools, which have proved to be essential.

Why did you choose Art History as a major in the first place?

I’ve always been captivated by stories of the past. Each object represents a series of decisions – the culmination of economic, social and personal circumstances – which can only be teased out by careful study. Bringing together the fields of history, anthropology, and material studies, art history allows for insights into the past.