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About Carol Bier

Carol Bier, historian of Islamic Art, studies patterns as intersections of art and mathematics. As Research Scholar at the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA, she has published widely on cultural aspects of geometry in Islamic art that inform a beauty of form, pattern and structure. She is concurrently Research Associate at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC (2001-present), where she served as Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections (1984-2001). 
President of the Textile Society of America (2006-08), she currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts (London). For more than a decade she taught courses on the history of Islamic art and architecture at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Johns Hopkins University; in Fall 1998 she was Norman Freehling Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan's Institute for the Humanities. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she taught at Mills College and San Francisco State University.
The first scholar-in-residence at Shangri La in Honolulu HI (2004), Bier studied and documented the uses of symmetry, geometric constructions, and design algorithms in Doris Duke’s collection of Islamic art, offering collaborative programs for the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Bridges Math-Art, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
In recent years Bier has conducted workshops on geometry and Islamic art in Abu Dhabi, Bamako, Dubai, Honolulu, Istanbul, Johor Bahru, Konya, Yogyakarta, and throughout North America for public audiences, university classes, K-12 students and teachers, and at academic conferences.
She received her graduate training in Near Eastern archaeology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and in Islamic art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
She is author of Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art (Berkeley: Graduate Theological Union, 2017), published on the occasion of an exhibition organized by the Center for the Arts & Religion at the GTU; author of The Persian Velvets at Rosenborg (Copenhagen, 1995); editor and contributing author, Woven from the Heart, Spun from the Soul: Textile Arts of Safavid and Qajar Iran (Washington DC, 1987) and has published numerous articles and reviews. Her award-winning website, "Symmetry and Pattern: The Art of Oriental Carpets," is hosted by the Math Forum, a resource for students and educators currently under the auspices of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


Present Research Associate (2001-present), The Textile Museum
Present Research Scholar (formerly Visiting Scholar) (2010-present), Graduate Theological Union ‐ Center for Islamic Studies
1992 - 2003 Editor, The Textile Museum Journal, The Textile Museum
1987 - 2001 Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections (1987-2001), The Textile Museum
1984 - 1987 Associate Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections, The Textile Museum

Research Interests

Geometry and Islamic Art, History of Islamic Art, Oriental Carpets, Textile Arts of the Islamic World, and Sasanian Art and Architecture

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Professional Service and Affiliations

2019 - Present Honorary Member, International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry
2016 - Present Associate Editor, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts (Taylor & Francis)
Present Member, Substantial Motion Research Network
2006 - 2008 President, Textile Society of America
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Islamic Art - General (24)

Books and book chapters, articles, reviews, etc. pertaining generally to the study and interpretation of Islamic art

Geometry and Islamic Art (33)