University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

USF Art History Professor Esra Akın-Kıvanç Studies Geometry of Islamic Calligraphy with Support of NEH Grant

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

USF assistant professor of Islamic art and architecture Esra Akın-Kıvanç is working to uncover the mysteries of the geometry of Islamic calligraphy.

Supported by a United States National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend, Akın-Kıvanç traveled to Washington, D.C. and Egypt to study inscriptions for her research.

The award provided crucial support to her research, providing new insights into the types of symmetry employed in calligraphic inscriptions.

“In DC and Egypt, I have gathered hundreds of calligraphic samples which I will now need to organize according to their geometric principles,” said Akın-Kıvanç. “My goal is to prove that the creators of these calligraphic designs were well informed of the rules of geometry, which field premodern Muslims believed was fundamental to noetic and spiritual growth.”

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.