Dr. Jochen Sokoly

Associate Professor


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Art History


Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil)

Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, 2002

Dissertation title: Tiraz Textiles from Egypt: Production, Administration and Uses of Tiraz Textiles from Egypt under the Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid Dynasties; supervisors Dr. Julian Raby and Dr. Luke Treadwell

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil)

Oriental Studies (Islamic Art and Architecture), University of Oxford, 1992

Master of Arts

Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1999 (Distinction)

Bachelor of Arts

Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1989 (First Class Honors)


Jochen Sokoly holds a D.Phil from the University of Oxford and specializes in the Arts and Architecture of the Islamic World with a focus on the early Caliphates. He has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar since 2004, where he also curated numerous exhibitions on art and design and convened public lectures as Gallery Director between 2005-2011. He has been a research fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, and has worked as a UNESCO curatorial consultant for the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum, Kuwait for which he is preparing a publication on the museum’s collection of early Islamic inscribed textiles. As a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, London, Dr. Sokoly has recently published on British India, particularly a collection of 18th century botanical paintings by the Indian painter Zayn al-Din, formerly in the collection of Sanskrit scholar Sir William Jones. Dr. Sokoly has also been instrumental in realizing the recent establishment of a Department of Art History at VCUQatar, with an undergraduate degree program that focuses on Islamic Art in a global context.

Research Interests

History of the art and architecture of the Islamic world; Contemporary Art of the Middle East; Contemporary visual culture and urbanism of the Middle East; Digital resources in the History of Art.

Previous Professional Experience


Consultant, Museum of Islamic Art, national Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, Doha, Qatar

2002 - 2003                         

Leo and Julia Forcheimer Research Fellow, department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum, New York

2000 - 2003                         

UNESCO Curatorial Consultant, Al-Sabah Collection,Kuwait National Museum

1998 - 1999                         

Curator, Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait

1995 – 1998                        

Consultant, Islamic Department, Christie's London

1995 - 1996                         

Research Assistant, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

1994 - 1995                         

Veronika Gervers Research Fellow, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto


Intern, Islamic Department, Christie's London

1992 - 1994                         

Research Assistant, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford


a. Exhibition catalogs

Aqili, Giuseppe, Anthony Dawton, Jim McFarlane, Ḍiyāʼ ʻAzzāwī and Jochen Sokoly (2011). The children of gaza: Giuseppe Acquili, Anthony Dawton, Jim Mcfarlane, & Dia Azawi, with text contributions by Anthony Dawton and Jochen Sokoly. Doha: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Sokoly, Jochen A., and Allison Ohta (2011). India: East / West: the age of discovery in Late Georgian India, as seen through the collections of the Royal Asiatic Society, London. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Mulder, Ortrud, and Jochen Sokoly (2011). Crossing boundaries: contemporary art and artisits from South Africa : Lien Botha, Nadja Daehnke, Hasan Essop, Husain Esspo, Svea Josephy, Sharlene Khan, Nomthunzi Mashalaba. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Brice, Meredith, Jochen A. Sokoly, and Andrew Simpson (2009). Transit: Meredith Brice, Stephen Copland, Karee S. Dahl, Colin G. Reaney. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Al-Muftah, Manar, Aisha Al-Muftah, and Jochen A. Sokoly (2008). Qatar now: Manar al-Muftah: talisman. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Sokoly, Jochen A., and Karin Adrian von Roques (2007). The Bauhaus interior: idea, reality, utopia. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Jochen Sokoly (2006). Languages of the pen: Arabic calligraphy from the collection of the Arab Museum for Modern Art, Doha. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Zakharia, Camille, and Jochen Sokoly (2006). Camille Zakharia: elusive homelands : VCUQ Gallery, Doha, Qatar, October 4-November 8, 2006. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Jaidah, Ibrahim, and Jochen Sokoly (2006). Contemporary architectural development in Qatar: the work and vision of Ibrahim Jaidah and his design studio: an exhibition developed and presented by Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar. Doha [Qatar]: Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.


b. Peer reviewed book chapters

Sokoly, Jochen (2015). "Textiles and Identity." The Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Gulru Necipoglu and Barry Flood. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell. (forthcoming)


c. Peer reviewed articles

Sokoly, Jochen (1997). "Between Life and Death: the Funerary Context of Tiraz Textiles." Riggisberger Berichte, 5. Bern: Abegg Stiftung, pp. 71-78.

Sokoly, Jochen (1997). "Towards a Model of Early Islamic Textile Institutions in Egypt." Riggisberger Berichte, 5. Bern: Abegg Stiftung pp. 115-122.


d. Peer reviewed collection catalog contributions

Sokoly, Jochen (2011). Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mariam Ekhtiar, Priscilla Soucek, Sheila R. Canby, and Navina Najat Haidar (eds.). New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 48-52 cat. nos. 26-29.


e. Conference proceedings

“Art Cities Focus – Post Panel Short Presentation.” Transcripts 1, Global Art Forum. Dubai: Art Dubai and Dubai International Financial Center, 2008, pp. 279-281.

Gower, Reni, Jorge Benitez, Khaled Saoud, Jochen Sokoly, and Susan Schuld (2014). "Geometric aljam’a: A visual transliteration and Re-claiming the wild colors of Qatari voices". Tasmeem. (2014): 9.


f. Peer reviewed encyclopedia contributions

Sokoly, Jochen (2006). “Textiles”. Meri, Josef W., and Jere L. Bacharach (eds.). Medieval Islamic civilization: an encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, p. 804.


g. Publications in progress

Sokoly, Jochen. Tiraz Textiles in the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum. London: Thames and Hudson. (signed contract, work in progress, manuscript due 2016)


a. International


“Zayn al-Din, Sir William and Lady Jones and their Study of Botany - The Jones Collection of Indian Company School Drawings and Watercolours at the Royal Asiatic Society, London.” Ernst Herzfeld Symposium, University of Hamburg, 4 July 2014.

“The Burial Fabrics of Fatimid Egypt: the Funerary Context of Early Islamic Tiraz Textiles.” Middle East Studies Association, Washington, DC, 25 November 2014.


“Islamic Art History in a Global Context: developing new ways of teaching Islamic Art at Undergraduate level.” German Orientalist Congress, University of Münster, 26 September 2013.


“The Suaire de St. Josse in the Louvre: New Light on Samanid Textiles from Khurasan.” Opening conference new Islamic Galleries, Louvre Museum, Paris, 20 September 2013.


Participant in panel discussion on “Art Education in the Gulf .“ Symposium “Word into Art.” Dubai International Financial Center, February 2008.


“Martin Luther King lived in the Renaissance: Teaching Art History in Qatar.” College Art Association Annual Conference 2007, New York.


“A Textile Inscribed in the Name of the Amir Bukhtagin.” Ernst Herzfeld Society Annual Conference, University of Bonn, July 2006.


“The Abbasid International Style: Inscriptions as Symbols of Imperial Might.” Fellows Colloquium, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, February 2003.


“Impact and Exchange: Foreign Materials and Techniques in Tiraz Textiles from Egypt under the Abbasid and Fatimid Dynasties.” Communities and Commodities: Western India and the Indian Ocean (11th-15th Centuries), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


“The Sigificance of the Term ‘ala yaday in Early Islamic Tiraz Inscriptions.” German Orientalist Congress, University of Bamberg, Germany, September 2001.


“From Khil’a to Shroud: Sacral Aspects of the Presentation of Caliphal Garments under the Fatimids. ”L’Egypte Fatimide: son art et son histoire, Fondation Singer Polignac and University of Paris (Sorbonne), June 1998.


“Between Life and Death: the Funerary Context of Tiraz Textiles.” and

“Towards a Model of Early Islamic Textile Institutions in Egypt.” Islamic Textiles of the Middle Ages: Current Problems. Abegg Stiftung, Bern, Switzerland, October 1995.


b. Local


“The Quest for the Perfect”, Tasmeem Doha 2013, VCUQatar, March 2013


“Zayn al-Din, Sir William and Lady Jones and their Study of Botany  - The Jones Collection of Indian Company School Drawings and Watercolors at the Royal Asiatic Society, London”, Education City Research Forum, Doha


Children of Gaza: Giuseppe Aquili, Jim McFarlane, Anthony Dawton, and Dia Azzawi 

(VCUQatar, 26 October - 3 December 2011)


Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Art and Artists from South Africa

(Curated by Jochen Sokoly and Ortrud Mulder; VCUQatar 26 January – 6 March 2011)


INDIA: EastWest - The Age of Discovery in late Georgian India as seen through the Collections of the Royal Asiatic Society, London

(Curated by Jochen Sokoly and Alison Ohta in cooperation with the Royal Asiatic Society, London; VCUQatar, 15 March – 17 April 2010)


Qatar Now: Ali Hassan - A Retrospective

(co-curated with Shaikh Abdulla Al Thani in cooperation with Al-Markhiya Gallery and the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; VCUQatar Gallery, 9 September - 10 October 2009)


Nada Sehnaoui | Rubble

(VCUQatar, 18 March – 15 April 2009)


Qatar Now: Manar Al-Muftah | Talisman

(VCUQatar, 3 September - 4 October 2008)


Tawasel - Contemporary Artists from Sudan

(in cooperation with Dar Al-Funoon Gallery, Kuwait; VCUQatar, 19 March - 19 April 2008)


The Bauhaus Interior – Idea, Reality, Utopia

(in cooperation with the Bauhaus Archive, Berlin and the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein; VCUQatar, 7 February – 13 March 2007)


Camille Zakharia: Elusive Homelands

(VCUQatar, 4 October - 8 November 8 2006)


Qatar Now – Ceramics from the Workshop of Munira al-Meer

(VCUQatar, 30 August - 27 September 2006)


Languages of the Pen: Arabic Calligraphy from the Arab Museum for Modern Art, Doha

(in cooperation with the Arab Museum for Modern Art, Doha; VCUQatar, 8 March - 5 April 2006)


Contemporary Architectural Development in Qatar: The Work and Vision of Ibrahim Jaidah and His Design Studio

(VCUQatar, 31 August - 21 September 2005)



Faculty Research Award


Faculty Research Grant, VCUQatar


Faculty Research Grant, VCUQatar


Faculty Research Grant, VCU Qatar Undergraduate Research Grant, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar


Faculty Research Grant, VCUQatar


Faculty Research Grant, VCUQatar


Sir Richard Stapely Educational Trust Grants Barakat Trust Award


British Academy Scholarships Laurence Binyon Prize, University of Oxford Awards from Lincoln College, the Oriental Institute, Arnold Bryce and Reid Fund, Sir John Hicks Economic History Fund, University of Oxford and The World of Islam Festival Trust, London


German Academic Exchange Service Scholarships