Matthew P. Canepa has been installed as the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History & Archaeology of Ancient Iran in UCI’s Department of Art History. His appointment is within the Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies and affiliated with the campus’s Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture. Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, a private foundation that supports the active preservation, transmission and instruction of Persian language, history, culture and heritage, funded the $2 million chair in 2017, with additional support provided by the UC Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs program.
“We are very fortunate to have Matthew Canepa in the School of Humanities,” said Dean Tyrus Miller. “With his scholarship, we are one step closer to showcasing the full sweep of 7,000 years of Iranian and Persian history and culture, and UCI now has the largest group of tenured Persian studies faculty in the country.”
“I look forwarding to working with Dean Miller to build UCI into North America’s premier institution for doctoral education and postdoctoral research in ancient Iranian art and archaeology. We have several exciting initiatives planned and are eager to begin working with our partners in the community and the wider field to make them a reality,” Canepa said.
Touraj Daryaee, director of the Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture and Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies & Culture, noted that Canepa’s position cements UCI as a destination for the study of ancient Iran. “With Matthew Canepa on faculty, we have the opportunity to train a new generation of scholars in the exciting field of Persian studies,” he said. “With this endowed chair, ancient art history and archaeology will be taught at UCI forever.”
Most recently, Canepa is the author of The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity Through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE-642 CE (University of California Press, 2018). It is a large-scale study of the transformation of Iranian cosmologies, landscapes and architecture from the height of the Achaemenids to the coming of Islam.