Dr. Akel I. Kahera, Ph.D. - عاقل إسماعيل قاهرة



+974 4402 0682


With a nearly 25-year career in public university teaching and administration, Dr. Kahera joins VCUQatar after serving as associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University. While at Clemson, he also acted as director of the Pennell Center for Research in Design & Building and professor of Architecture with an appointment in the Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric, Communication, Information and Design; and Planning, Design, and the Built Environment.

His research and teaching focus on history and theory; culture and aesthetics; sustainable design; urbanism and the practices of culture and local knowledge; Islamic art and architecture; poetry; jazz; and the Foucauldian theory of space/power/knowledge. These interests have resulted in over 20 peer-reviewed papers, encyclopedia entries, book chapters and three books: Deconstructing the American Mosque, University of Texas Press (2002); Design Criteria for Mosques, Architectural Press (2009) and Reading the Islamic City, Rowan & Littlefield (2012).

Dr. Kahera sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. His seminal text, Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender & Aesthetics, has substantially altered views of the history and theory of mosque architecture in the United States and the complex cultural patterns of diaspora. During his over two decades of experience as an international consultant, he has served as an architectural designer and project manager, assuming leading roles in the completion of several major projects in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Additionally, Dr. Kahera has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University and Prairie View A&M University, where he was director of graduate studies. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and degrees in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Pratt Institute.

Dr. Kahera sees the empowerment of women as vital to the discourse of global education and community development, and this particular interest and commitment is informed in part by the experience of raising his own six daughters. He looks forward to expanding his commitment to global education in his new role as Dean of VCUQatar, while bringing his rich array of knowledge, experience and advocacy to support the mission, vision and strategic plan of the university. Under his leadership, teaching, research and service will continue to lead the university’s quest for knowledge and pedagogical excellence.


Publications / Books

  1. Kahera, Akel. Reading the Islamic City: Discursive Practices & Legal Judgment, Rowan Littlefield/Lexington Press, Maryland, 2012.
  2. Kahera, Akel. Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender & Aesthetics,   University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 2002.
  3. Kahera, Akel. with Craig Anz Latif Abdulmalik Design Criteria for Mosques & Islamic Centers: Art, Architecture & Worship, The Architectural Press, Oxford, UK, 2009.

Journal Essays (partial List)

  1. Kahera, Akel. “The Education of African-American Architects: Re-thinking Du Bois’s Principles, ‘about us, by us, for us and near us.” in, Space Unveiled: Invisible Cultures in the Design Studio, Ed. Carla  Jackson Bell (R0utledge, UK, 2014) 37-50.
  2. Kahera, Akel. “God’s Dominion: Omar Ibn Said use of Arabic literacy as opposition to Slavery”, The South Carolina Review, 46:2, (2014) 126-34.
  3. Akel Ismail Kahera and Bakama BakamaNume: “Houston mosques: space, place and religious meaning”, in The Changing World Map: Sacred Spaces, Identities, Practices and Politics Ed. Stan Brunn (Springer UK, Forthcoming 01: 2015).
  4. Kahera, Akel. “Art is not Created Ex-Nihilo: Order, Space Form in the Work of Sinan and Palladio”, Journal of History & Culture, 1:3, (2010) 57-79.
  5. Kahera, Akel. “If you fly too close to the sun: Postmodernism, Pantheism and the Promethean Myth”, Journal of History & Culture, 1:2, (2009) 39-52.
  6. Kahera, Akel. “(Re) Thinking Diversity: Resisting Absolute Knowledge in the Design Studio”, Journal of History &Culture, 1:1, (2008) 62-76.
  7. Kahera, Akel. “Two Muslim Communities: Two Disparate Ways of Islamizing Public Spaces”, Space and Culture, 10:4, (2007) 384-396.

 Encyclopedia entries & Online Publications (selected)

  1. October 2014 “Writing Towards Freedom”, and interview with Dr. Akel Kahera featured in Glimpse, (http://www.clemson.edu/glimpse/?p=5258)
  2. May 2014 “Reflections on Twitter”—An interview with Dr. Kahera (http://blogs.clemson.edu/online/2014/05/06/reflections-on-twitter/)
  3. 2013 Student Publication Islamic Architecture (http://www.blurb.com/b/4938093-islamic-art-and-architecture-f2013)
  4. 2014 Student Publication Islamic Architecture (http://www.blurb.com/b/5899591-islamic-art-and-architecture)
  5. “Women’s Space” The Oxford Encyclopedias of Islam & Women, Ed. Natana J. DeLong-Bas, Oxford University Press, NY (2013), 679-82.
  6. “The Islamic City”, Ed. Ray Hutchinson, Encyclopedia of Urbanism. Sage Publications, UK (2009) 401-05.


  1. QF Radio - An Interview with Dr. Kahera (https://m.soundcloud.com/qfradio/foundations-ep-005)