Dr. Dana Katz
April 2022 - March 2023
Research Project: Panormus, Balàrm/Madīnat Ṣiqilliyya, to Christian Palermo: The Urban Transformations of a Medieval Mediterranean City
The project considers the long-term urban transformation of Palermo and larger societal change in Sicily under Islamic rule. In addition to being a re-evaluation of recent scholarly work, it originates from years of fieldwork and research that is part of a larger study on the later twelfth-century Norman parklands outside the walls of the medieval city. The project examines material culture finds, whose study, interpretation, and contextualization can answer key research questions about the Islamication of the island. On its northwest coast, Palermo occupied a key role in this process due to its privileged place as Sicily’s leading cultural and economic center under the Aghlabids from the ninth century onwards. Ceramic finds in rural contexts indicate that it was the leading manufacturing center and the disseminator of taste in Sicily, while within the city itself there was a market of discerning consumers, an urban elite. Under the Fatimids, Palermo became a leading hub in the Mediterranean and part of larger systems of exchange, with widespread implications for its spatial organization and its urban environment. The project considers cultural, religious, economic integration, and the acculturation of Sicily into the Islamic world and how this changed the fabric of its principal city, Palermo. Enlarging the comparative framework to include the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa illuminates the transformations that occurred on the island over the close to two and a half centuries of Muslim rule.
Dr. Dana Katz received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from the Department of Art History at the University of Toronto. In 2021–22, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture in New York City. She has also been a postdoctoral fellow at the Haifa Center for Mediterranean History (HCMH) at the University of Haifa and held a Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Katz is currently completing a monograph on a historical landscape in the medieval Mediterranean, the royal parklands of the 12th-century Norman kings of Sicily. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and the Medieval Academy of America (Olivia Remie Constable Award in 4/2021, usually given to a junior scholar working on the Islamic Mediterranean from an interdisciplinary perspective). She has participated in international seminars of the Bibliotheca Hertziana–Max Planck Institute for Art History as well as the Getty Foundation and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has published in the Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, Convivium: Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean, the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, and a co-written article will appear in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Archaeology. In addition to medieval Sicily, her research interests include Islamic art and architecture, medieval archaeology, Crusader art, and the modern formation of Islamic and medieval art collections.
Katz, Dana / Nantet, Emmanuel / Manuel Berenguel (2022), “Repositioning the Sea on the Grand Altar of Pergamon: A Demonstration of Hellenistic Boat Construction on the Telephos Frieze”, American Journal of Archaeology 126:4.
Katz Dana (2020), “Barbarism Begins at Home: Islamic Art on Display in Palermo’s Museo Nazionale and Sicilian Ethnography at the 1891–92 Esposizione Nazionale”, International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) 9.1, 91–117.
Katz, Dana (2019), “Review: Margaret, Queen of Sicily, by Jacqueline Alio”, Mediterranean Historical Review 34.1, 101–103.
Katz Dana (2018), “From Norman to Hohenstaufen Rule of Sicily: The Representation of Matthew of Ajello in the Liber ad honorem Augusti and the Church of La Magione in Palermo”, in: Elisabetta Scirocco / Gerhard Wolf, eds.), Convivium: Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean, Issue 5.1: “The Italian South: Transcultural Perspectives 400–1500”, Elisabetta Scirocco / Gerhard Wolf, Turnhout: Brepols, 66–79.
Katz Dana (2017), “Reassembling the Sala Araba in Palermo’s Museo Nazionale”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 59.1, 40–61.