Farah Shoukry


This M.A. thesis aims to critically analyze the conservation history of the mausoleum of Shajarat al-Durr. Although Shajarat al-Durr’s biography is a well-published topic in the field of Islamic History, her only surviving architectural patronage lacks comprehensive documentation for its conservation schemes through history. The first chapter presents the biography of the sultāna in relation to the architectural analysis of the mausoleum. The second chapter investigates the theoretical concepts of conservation from an Islamic history point of view. Chapter three traces the conservation history of the mausoleum with a focus on the work of the Comité. The fourth chapter evaluates a more modern conservation practice with the theme of community participation that is currently taking place in al-Khalīfa under the name of Athar Lina project. The last chapter provides a summary of the research work identifying gaps in the study. It also discusses the accumulated challenges of conserving the mausoleum of Shajarat al-Durr as presented in history and identifies a number of related areas worthy of study. Documenting the conservation work in an accessible manner to the world of Islamic art and architecture is recommended to perceive monuments in a more authentic light. The Conservation History of the Mausoleum of Shajarat al-Durr serves as a research example highlighting the timeliness of monuments and how they evolve over time.


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

December 2015

First Advisor

Kenney, Ellen

Committee Member 1

Karim, Chahinda

Committee Member 2

O'Kane, Bernard


228 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


This work would not have been possible without the patience and guidance of Dr. Ellen Kenney who did not give up on one tiresome student. Thanks for the Maadi feedback sessions and encouraging emails. I cannot express my gratitude towards Dr. Bernard O’Kane who wonderfully enchanted the arts of the books and the architectural jewels of the far eastern countries. I am Indebted to Dr. Chahinda Karim who first opened my eyes to the architectural gems of Cairo. The ARIC 206 course was a life changing experience and I fell in love with the field of Islamic architecture since then. In the loving memory of Dr. George Scanlon, who instilled the passion of squinches and pendentives in my heart forever. I would like to thank my friend Yomna Faramawy for getting me through indecipherable German passages and Farah Salem who eloquently translated the French sections of the Comité Bulletins. I’m grateful for my lifetime friend Dalia Wagdy who tirelessly proof-read this work. Last but not least, I thank Dr. May al-Ibrashy for her continuous contributions to the field of Islamic conservation - caring for both the monuments and their people; she is a true inspiration. To all who have made this work possible, I thank you endlessly.