Azra Dawood

Installation photo of "City of Faith: Religion, Activism, and Urban Space," an exhibition currently on view at the Museum of the City of New York. (Photographer: Brad Farwell; Exhibition and Graphic Design: Isometric Studio)


Azra Dawood, PhD is a historian, architect, curator, and educator. Her work focuses on built environments and art practices, studying these within both hyperlocal and global contexts. She is particularly drawn to the topics of cultural pluralism, religion and secularism, empire, and philanthropy. Azra has practiced architecture in Karachi, Austin, and New York City. After receiving a doctorate in architectural history from MIT's History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art program and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture she has taught at University of Houston, Bard College, and Pratt Institute.

She is currently working on both academic and public-history projects, including a manuscript about the institutional projects financed by the Rockefeller philanthropic network in the early- twentieth century, reading these from the perspectives of immigration, the network's pursuit of social engineering, and early-twentieth century theological movements. She has published a related article in The Journal of Architecture, titled “Building 'Brotherhood': John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Foundations of New York City's International Student House.”

Azra is the curator of City of Faith: Religion, Activism, and Urban Space, currently on view at the Museum of the City of New York. She previously curated a web-based interactive timeline showing how the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020's Black Lives Matter protests transformed public space and life in NYC. Her curatorial projects center socially-engaged approaches to public history.