Dr. Nada Shabout


Dr. Shabout will be speaking on Thursday, March 30th 5:30 -6:30 in Cheever 215. Her lecture, “Contemporary Art in the Arab World” will be followed by a reception for Geometric Aljamia in the HECG, complete with a potluck of foods from predominately Muslim countries and (hopefully) music.  She will also be speaking on March 31st at 1 pm in Cheever 215, in conjunction with the History, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Gender Studies Department .  Her lecture will discuss documenting Arab art that has been lost during the Iraqi and Afghani Wars.

Nada Shabout was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the oldest of three children born to a Palestinian mother and Iraqi father. The family returned to Iraq when she was 6 years old and she graduated from Baghdad High School for Girls.

Shabout was trained in architecture at the New York Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Arlington and the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, England. She has also earned BFA fine arts, MA and PhD in the Humanities with a concentration in art history and criticism from the University of Texas at Arlington, 1999.[4] She wrote her dissertation on “Modern Arab Art and the Metamorphosis of the Arabic Letter.” A book based on her dissertation “Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics,” was published by the University of Florida Press, 2007.


She has been an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of North Texas since 2002, teaching Arab visual culture and Islamic art. She has been working on the documentation of modern Iraqi heritage, particularly the collection previously held at the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art since her visit to Baghdad in June 2003. She has been organizing panels and presenting around the world on the state of Iraq’s modern heritage following 2003, the relationship of identity and visual representations in modern and contemporary Iraqi art, and exhibitions of Middle Eastern arts in the West since 911.

She is a co-founder and president of the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA). AMCA was founded in 2007 as a private, non-profit, international organization as an affiliate organization of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA). AMCA mission statement claims, aims to advance the study of contemporary Middle Eastern art studies, through the creation of a network of interested scholars and organizations, facilitating communication and cooperation by sponsoring conferences, holding meetings, and exchanging information via a newsletter and a website.

She is the curator of the traveling exhibition “Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art,” 2005-07; and “Moments from 20th Century Iraqi Art,” at the Montalvo Art Center, California, 2007-2008. She has edited the exhibition catalogue “Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art (UNT Art Gallery, 2007).

Published works


  • “Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics,” University of Florida Press, 2007.
  • “New Vision: Arab Art in the Twenty-First Century,” Transglobe Publishing Ltd. and Thames & Hudson, 2009.


  • “Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art,” Denton, TX: UNT Art Gallery, 2007.
  • “Modernism and Iraq,” New York: Columbia University, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 2009.


She is the author several articles that examine legal and ethical responsibilities of the US in Iraq after 2003, including:

  • “The Iraqi Museum of Modern Art: Ethical Implications,” Collections (Vol. 2, no. 4, May, AltaMira Press, 2006);
  • “Historiographic Invisibilities: The Case of Contemporary Iraqi Art,” the International Journal of the Humanities (volume 3, Number 9, 2006);
  • “The “Free” Art of Occupation: Images for a “New” Iraq,” Arab Studies Quarterly (Volume 28, Number 3 and 4 Summer and Fall 2006); and
  • “Preservation of Iraqi Modern Heritage in the Aftermath of the US Invasion of 2003,” in Gail Levin and Elaine A. King, eds, An anthology on Ethics in the Art World (Allworth Press, 2006).


Among her honors is The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) fellowship 2006 and 2007; and Fulbright Senior Scholar Program, 2007 Lecture/Research fellowship to Jordan Project, “Arab Art Now: A Study of the Contemporary Art Vision in Jordan.”