Peter Christensen

Peter Christensen

  • Arthur Satz Professor of the Humanities
  • Professor of Art and Art History
  • Ani and Mark Gabrellian Director, Humanities Center
  • Director, Andrew W. Mellon Program in the Digital Humanities

PhD, Harvard University, 2014

516 Morey Hall
(585) 276-7173


Research Overview

My research interests include: 19th and 20th century international architectural history, particularly of Central, Southeastern Europe and Ottoman and post-Ottoman lands; history and aesthetics of infrastructure and industry; materiality and ecocriticism; critical digital humanities; primary research.

Research Interests

  • 19th and 20th century architectural history, particularly Europe and North America’s international engagement with the Islamic world
  • history and aesthetics of infrastructure and industry
  • historicism
  • cartography and architecture
  • critical digital humanities

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  •  Architecture and Environment
  •  Art, Design, and the Law
  •  Introduction to Modern Architecture
  •  Islamic Architecture in Context
  •  The Art of Industry
  •  The Art of Infrastructure
  •  Orientalism in Art and Architecture
  •  The City: Contested Spaces
  •  Introduction to Global Architecture
  •  Materiality in Architecture
  •  Topics in Architectural Theory
  •  Art New York Colloquium

Selected Publication Covers

Selected Publications

  • Precious Metal: German Steel, Modernity, and Ecology, Penn State Press, 2022.
  • Buffalo at the Crossroads: The Past, Present and Future of American Urbanism, Cornell University Press, 2020.
  • Expertise and Architecture in the Modern Islamic World: A Critical Anthology, Intellect / University of Exeter Press, 2018.
  • Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire and Infrastructure, Yale University Press, 2017. Winner of the 2020 Alice Davis Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians for the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of architecture by a North American scholar.
  • The International Journal of Islamic Architecture, vol. 4 no. 2 (2015), guest editor for special issue on the theme of expertise in the architecture of the Islamic world since 1800.
  • Architecturalized Asia: Mapping a Continent Through History, with Vimalin Rujivacharakul, Hazel Hahn and Ken Tadashi Oshima (eds.), University of Hawai’i Press, 2013. Recognized by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2014.
  • Instigations: Engaging Architecture, Landscape and the City, with Mohsen Mostafavi (eds.), Lars Müller, 2012.
  • Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, with Barry Bergdoll (eds.), The Museum of Modern Art, 2008. Winner of the 2010 Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award from the Society of Architectural Historians for best exhibition catalogue. Association of American University Presses Annual Award for best illustrated trade book.
  • Articles, reviews and other writing in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Architectural Histories, Journal of Architectural Education, Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, The International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, Aggregate, New Geographies, and others.

Selected Awards and Fellowships

  • 2021-22. University of Rochester Research Award ($53,695)
  • 2021-22. John Solomon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship ($50,000)
  • 2021-22. Membership, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies ($44,000)
  • 2021. Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Visual Arts ($5,000)
  • 2020-21. Gerda Henkel Stiftung Fellowship ($71,539)
  • 2020. Visiting Humanist, Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic (postponed due to COVID-19)
  • 2019-20. National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship ($60,000)
  • 2019. University of Rochester, Pump Primer II Award ($27,473)
  • 2019. Richard Rogers Fellowship (London), Harvard Graduate School of Design ($25,000)
  • 2019. New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA) Grant for Architecture ($10,000)
  • 2018-22. Central New York Humanities Corridor Working Group Grant (with Cornell University, $15,000)
  • 2016-17. Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin / Forum Transregionale Studien, Postdoctoral Fellowship ($27,000)
  • 2016. SAH / Mellon Author Award for Germany and the Ottoman Railway Network: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure ($4,365)
  • 2016. University of Rochester, Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship ($47,000)
  • 2016. National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend ($6,000)
  • 2015. University of Rochester, University Research Award Award ($50,000)
  • 2015. CHOICE recognition for Architecturalized Asia as an Outstanding Academic Title of 2014
  • 2014-16. Mellon Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative Grant ($20,000)
  • 2014-16. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship / Lectureship, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University (declined, $100,000)
  • 2011-12. Fulbright Scholarship (Germany, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and Zentrum Moderner Orient, $25,000)
  • 2010. Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Language Study Grant (Goethe Institut Hamburg, $2,800)
  • 2010. Spiro Kostof Fellowship, Society of Architectural Historians ($1,000)
  • 2009. Cornell University Leopold Eidlitz Travel Fellowship
  • 2007. The Museum of Modern Art, Lee Tenenbaum Award for outstanding staff