Gruber, Christiane Jacqueline

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Research Topic: Late Ottoman Amuletic and Devotional Arts

Dr.Gruber’s primary fields of research include paintings of the Prophet Muhammad and Islamic ascension texts and images, about which she has written three books and edited several volumes of articles. She also pursues research in Islamic book arts and codicology, having authored the online catalogue of Islamic calligraphies in the Library of Congress as well as edited the volume entitled The Islamic Manuscript Tradition. Her third field of specialization is modern Islamic visual and material culture, in particular within post-revolutionary Iran and contemporary Türkiye. A full list of her scholarly publications, exhibitions, op-ed articles, and interviews can be accessed online at: While in Istanbul this year, Prof. Gruber will explore late Ottoman amuletic and devotional arts, focusing in particular on illustrated devotional manuals, seal paintings and designs, and verbal icons (hilyes) of the Prophet Muhammad, which frequently were made and used for talismanic and/or curative purposes. Such materials highlight the role of the visual arts in crafting and conveying blessings (baraka), a magico-religious practice that is a hallmark of Ottoman-Islamic pietistic traditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.