Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America

Amanda Phillips

Assistant Professor

I joined the McIntire Department of Art in 2015, after completing my DPhil at the University of Oxford’s Oriental Institute, with a specialization in Islamic Art and Archaeology (2011). I’ve also had fellowships with the Berlin Museum of Islamic Art and at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities at the American Research Institute in Turkey, the Koç Center for Anatolian Studies in Istanbul, the British Academy, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in Honolulu, the Fulbright Commission, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, among others. 

My work is mostly about material culture and textiles. I’m interested in the spread of silk-weaving technologies, and how, in history, the transfer of expertise also reflects migration. This human movement, in the early modern period, brought Persia, Egypt, Anatolia, Italy, and Spain into direct contact with the Ottoman Empire, my main field of study. This is a topic of my forthcoming book, which also looks at how artisans negotiated the central authorities and how the textiles they made are evidence for resistance. 

I’m also interested in how people use objects, such as ceramic coffee cups and prayer beads and even small paintings. Everyday Luxuries, my first book, was published in 2016. It discusses the art and objects of the 99% who lived in Istanbul in the early modern period. Individuals in the city had access to hundreds of kinds of goods from all over the world, from Chinese porcelain to Indian cotton, and were keen and discerning consumers of all sorts of things, many of them from far away.

My teaching at UVa includes an undergraduate survey of Islamic Art (ARTH 2961) and classes on early modern empires, on Istanbul, and on Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and his era. I’m also an undergraduate advisor at UVA and affiliated faculty at the Department of Middle East and South Asian Languages and Cultures. In the larger world, I serve as executive secretary of the Historians of Islamic Art Association and on the board of the Material Culture of Art and Design series at Bloomsbury.