Peter J. Chelkowski


Peter Chelkowski joined the faculty of NYU as a cultural historian of the Middle East in 1968. His academic background is an intensely multi-cultural, multi-disciplined one. He studied Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and Theater Arts in the School of Drama in the same city. After he moved to London, he studied Islamic Middle Eastern History and Culture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Finally, he went to Tehran University to study Persian Literature. While in Iran, Chelkowski also worked for a charitable organization called CARE Mission. This allowed him to cover Iran to and for to the tune of some seventy thousand miles and to meet all classes of people in the country in a practical capacity. His teaching and writings reflect that education and experience in the field. Within the framework of Islam, whether in the area of Islamic mysticism or that of popular beliefs and rituals, his scholarly interests range from the many and varied uses of the language itself to the role of Islam in architecture and the relation of art to society. In his graduate courses dealing with Islam in the contemporary world, Chelkowski is primarily concerned with rectifying Western misconceptions of Islam both as a religion and in its various cultural forms. 

Selected publications: 

»Mirror of the Invisible World«, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975; »Ta'ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran«, New York: NYU Press, 1979; »Studies in Art and Literature of the Near East«, in Honor of Richard Ettinghausen ed., Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1974; »Staging A Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran«, co-authored with H. Dabashi, London: Booth-Clilborn Editions, 1999; »Community Process and the Performance of Muharram Observances in Trinidad«, co-authored with F. Korom, The Drama Review, vol.38 (2), Summer, 1994; »Islam in Modern Drama and Theatre, Die Welt des Islam, Leiden«, 1984; »Narrative Painting and Painting Recitation, Muqarnas, Leiden«, 1989.