Razan Francis' work centers on the visual culture of the Islamic world with a focus on Iberia and the Mediterranean. She explores the relationship of cultural identity and artistic practice in multi-ethnic and multi-religious environments and the discourse of images and craftsmanship in Islamic cultures.
Francis earned her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art with a dissertation on “Secrets of the Arts: Enlightenment Spain’s Contested Islamic Craft Heritage.” She specializes in the visual culture of the Islamic world, with a focus on Iberia and the Mediterranean. Her research explores the relationship of cultural identity and artistic practice in multi-ethnic and multi-religious environments and the reception of medieval Islamic art and architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her work has been funded by a Chester Dale Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; a Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship; an American Association of University Women Fellowship; and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. She has taught at Northeastern University and at Furman University, and was most recently a Visiting Scholar of Art History at the Institute of Medieval Studies of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Francis was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, and returns for the 2022-2023 academic year.