Guitty Azarpay Distinguished Visitorship

Azarpay Distinguished Visitorship

The Azarpay Distinguished Visitorship was established in 2015 through a generous gift by Professor Emerita Guitty Azarpay and is used bi-annually to fund a visiting scholar to teach on the arts of Iran and Central Asia. 

Guitty Azarpay was born in Tehran, Iran, and came to the U.S. with her family in 1953 as a high school student. She completed her secondary education at a boarding school in England, and her post-secondary education at UC Berkeley where she graduated with a Ph.D. in Art History in 1964. Following her doctorate, she taught at UC Berkeley for over 40 years until her retirement in the early 2000s.

During her tenure at Berkeley, Guitty Azarpay was very active in the field of Iranian and Central Asian art nationally and internationally, but also at local Bay Area institutions including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. She authored multiple standard works in her fields, including Sogdian Painting: The Pictorial Epic in Oriental Art (1981), the first work in English on the arts of the Sogdians in Central Asia, and Urartian Art & Artifacts (1968). In 1994, she was appointed to the editorial board of the Encyclopedia Iranica.

Guitty Azarpay was the recipient of numerous grants, including from the American Philosophical Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and held affiliations with various organizations, including the American Institute of Archaeology, the American Oriental Society, and the Asia Institute. She was also the recipient of the Book of the Year Award from the University of California Press, for Sogdian Painting, and received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement award.

At UC Berkeley, Guitty Azarpay together with emeriti professors Martin Schwartz and the late David Stronach, fostered a unique and vibrant environment that promoted the learning and understanding of the ancient Iranian and Central Asian worlds. Her gift continues that legacy.

Azarpay Visitors:

Soroor Ghanimati (2019-2021)

Soroor Ghanimati received her B.A. in design and architecture from Tehran Art University and her Ph.D. in 2001 from the (then) Department of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley with a dissertation on the Zoroastrian temple complex of Kuh-e Khwaja in the Sistan region of Iran. At Berkeley, Dr. Ghanimati taught a number of very popular courses, including "Art and Culture of the Persian World", "Viewing Persia in Modern Iranian Art and Architecture", "Islamic Art & Architecture From Persia to Spain", and "20th Century Art & Culture of Iran".

Rolf Schneider (2018)

Rolf Michael Schneider is Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology at Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, and Honorary Professor at the School of Languages & Literatures, University of Cape Town. At Berkeley, Dr. Schneider taught courses including "Breaking Boundaries: The Persian in Greek and Roman art (500 BC to AD 600)".

Sanjyot Mehendale (2017)

Sanjyot Mehendale studied in the Netherlands before receiving her Ph.D. in 2001 from the (then) Department of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley with a dissertation on the Begram ivories from Kushan-era Afghanistan. Dr. Mehendale taught courses on Silk Road Art and Archaeology, the arts and history of Central Asia, and other subjects. She is currently a Lecturer in the MELC department.

Matteo Compareti (2015-2016)

Matteo Compareti studied at Venice University “Ca’ Foscari” and earned his Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of Naples “L‘Orientale” with a dissertation on the “Silk Road” studies. At Berkeley, Dr. Compareti lectured on the arts of Sasanian Persia and gave a graduate seminar on Sasanian royal reliefs.