Skip to Content

Amy Chang

“Architecture at the Edges of Empire: Islam, Asia, and the Interpretation of Architectural Inheritance in the Global Spanish Empire, 16th-17th centuries”

Amy Chang

William R. Tyler Fellow

In the 16th century, the question of how to describe Spain’s architectural inheritance was extremely active and fraught, for a Crown which had so voraciously consumed Islamic lands now sought to define itself and its territories as always having been Roman and Christian, thus raising the question of how to interpret and describe the Spanish Crown’s Islamic architectural inheritances. Amy’s project focuses on how this question played out at opposite ends of the Hapsburg Empire in the cites of Seville and Manila. For in the early modern period, Andalusia and the Philippines not only served as bookends for the rich Manila Galleon Trade, but were seen as two co-extensive theaters of a single anti-Muslim military campaign connected by the Ottoman Empire, as the Philippine islands were largely Islamic before conquest and many southern Philippine polities and their neighbors continued to be, and to successfully repel colonization into modern times.

Amy Chang is a PhD Candidate at Harvard University where she studies the art and architecture of the Global Spanish Empire under the direction of Felipe Pereda. She previously received an MA from Columbia University and a BA from Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation focuses on the interpretation and reception of Andalusian and Philippine Islamic architecture within the Hapsburg Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the formation of the idea of national styles. She is interested in the impact of cultural minorities on conceptualizing ‘empire,’ as well as in translation, creolization, assimilation, and foreignness in architecture, portraiture, and still life in the early modern Hispanic world.