Ethel Wolper

Phone: (603) 862-3884
Office: History, Horton Social Science Center Rm 402, Durham, NH 03824
Ethel Sara Wolper

Ethel Sara Wolper is a cultural historian of the medieval and early modern Islamic world. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago, where she designed a program on public policy and the arts. After completing her M.A., she spent a year at the American University in Cairo studying advanced Arabic and a summer at Bosphorus University in Istanbul in an intensive Turkish program before earning a Ph.D. in Islamic Art from the University of California in Los Angeles. At UNH, Wolper teaches courses on the history of Islam and the Middle East, Sufism, Islam in America, and Islamic art. Wolper has held fellowships from the Fulbright-Hays program, the American Association of University Women, the Center for Advanced Study at the National Gallery of Art, and the Mellon Foundation at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University. She has also interned and led tours for the American Research Institute in Turkey, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago. At UNH, she served as director of the UNH in London program. Wolper is the author of Cities and Saints: Sufism and the Transformation of Urban Space in Medieval Anatolia (Penn State University Press,2003), and has published articles in Muqarnas, Mesegios, Muslim World, and Medieval Encounters. She has contributed chapters and entries to The Art Museum (Phaidon, 2010), Women in Islamic Culture, and the Readers Guide to Gay and Lesbian Studies. Wolper's current research focuses on the history of conversion in the medieval Islamic world.


  • Ph.D., Art History,Criticism&Conserv., University of California - Los Angeles
  • M.A., Art History,Criticism&Conserv., University of Chicago
  • B.A., PublicRelationsAdvertAppldComm, University of Chicago

Research Interests

  • History of Islam
  • History of Islamic art
  • History of the Middle East

Courses Taught

  • HIST 425: Top/Islamic Cultr & Civiliztn
  • HIST 440F: Honors/Islam, Art, & the Past
  • HIST 500: Intro to Historical Thinking
  • HIST 585: Medieval Islam
  • HIST 586: Islam in the Modern Age
  • HIST 600/800: Expl/Marco Polo - Drug Trade
  • HIST 797: Colloquium/
  • HIST 797/897: Colloquium/ Cities in History
  • HUMA 511A: Medieval World (The Crusades)

Selected Publications

Wolper, E. S. (2017). Synagogues and the Hebrew Prophets. Synagogues in the Islamic World, 31-50.

Wolper, E. S. (2017). Shrines of the Prophets and Jewish Communities: Ancient Synagogues and Tombs in Medieval Iraq. In M. Gharipour (Ed.), Synagogues in the Islamic World (pp. 31-50). Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

Wolper, E. S. (2017). Shrines of the Hebrew Prophets and the Architecture of Religious Communities in Medieval Iraq. In Synagogues in the Islamic World Architecture, Design and Identity.

Wolper, E. S. (2015). Khidr and the Politics of Translation in Mosul: Mar Behnam, St George and Khidr Ilyas. In Sacred Precincts (pp. 377-392). doi:10.1163/9789004280229_022

Wolper, E. S. (2015). Khidr and the Politics of Translation in Mosul: Mar Behnam, St George and Khidr Ilyas. In Sacred Precincts (pp. 377-392). BRILL. doi:10.1163/9789004280229_022

Wolper, E. S. (2014). Islamic Architecture and Institutions in the Late Medieval City. History Compass, 12(12), 912-923. doi:10.1111/hic3.12204

Wolper, E. S. (2014). Architecture and Hagiography in the Ottoman Empire. International Journal of Islamic Architecture.

Wolper, E. S. (2013). Khidr and the Politics of Place: Creating Landscapes of Continuity. In Cormack (Ed.), Muslims and Others in Sacred Space. Oxford University Press.

Wolper, E. S. (2011). Khiḍr and the Changing Frontiers of the Medieval World. Medieval Encounters, 17(1-2), 120-146. doi:10.1163/157006711x561730

Wolper, E. S. (2000). Khir, Elwan ÇLelebi and the Cnversion of Sacred Sanctuaries in Anatolia. The Muslim World, 90(3-4), 309-322. doi:10.1111/j.1478-1913.2000.tb03693.x

Most Cited Publications