I am an art historian specializing in the material culture of the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically the art and architecture of the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphate. My primary research interests include the interaction of text and image, patronage of devotional art, and the agency of luxury objects in late antique and medieval societies. In my teaching, I focus on ways in which images have been historically used for the visual expression of identity–including gender, ethnicity, race, and the reinforcement of social hierarchical structures. In class discussions and assignments, I develop students’ observational skills and build their art-historical vocabulary so that they have the tools to translate their visual perceptions into a verbal medium.