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Nancy Demerdash

IMG_4254Nancy Demerdash specializes in modern and contemporary art and architectural history of the Middle East and North Africa. Her dissertation, “Tunisia, 1940-1970: The Spatial Politics of Reconstruction, Decolonization, and Development,” examines modernist architectural practices in Tunisia, as they emerged against the backdrop of postwar reconstruction, decolonization and a nascent national consciousness. With an emphasis on social housing typologies, debates on the vernacular, and discourses of functionalism and heritage in Tunisia, this project analyzes how modernism itself was constructed, deployed and spatially adapted in the region as a signifier of progress and control. In January 2016, a chapter of her dissertation was awarded the Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Paper in Modern and Contemporary Arab Art from the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, & Turkey (AMCA). Additionally, Nancy’s work has received support from the Spiro Kostof Fellowship from the Society of Architectural Historians, the Forum Transregionale Studien and Europe in the Middle East (EUME) programs in Berlin, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship at Princeton University, and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA). Before beginning her doctoral studies at Princeton University, Nancy earned a Master of Science in Architecture Studies (S.M.Arch.S.) from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where her thesis on French colonial urban planning in Marrakesh won the Best Thesis Prize in the Department of Architecture in 2009. She also holds an Honors B.A. in Art History and a certificate in Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2006). Having taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and within the Princeton-Mellon Initiative for Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, Nancy most recently taught in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at DePaul University. In addition to preparing her dissertation for publication, Nancy currently writes on the intersections of art and activism, particularly pertaining to issues of migration, diaspora(s), and artistic censorship in the Middle East and North Africa.

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