Azra Dawood

Installation view of City of Faith exhibition
Installation photo of "City of Faith: Religion, Activism, and Urban Space," an exhibition on view from 11/17/22 through 10/22/23 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 topics related to cultural pluralism (as evident in sports), religion and secularism, empire and philanthropy, and the environment. 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, which just closed 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 work centers socially-engaged approaches to public history, and has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Hyperallergic, and other outlets. In Fall 2023, she was a Visiting Fellow at Bard Graduate Center.