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Inaugural Bok Family Professor in the Humanities: Holly Pittman

December 7, 2010, Volume 57, No. 14



Holly Pittman has been appointed the inaugural Bok Family Professor in the Humanities in the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Pittman is also chair of the department of the history of art and curator of the Near Eastern Section of the Penn Museum. Her research interests focus on ancient Near Eastern art and architecture with a current focus on the excavations of the sites of Konar Sandal South and North in the region of Jiroft, south-central Iran.

Dr. Pittman has excavated in Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and has had primary publication responsibilities of the art—especially the glyptic art—from the sites of Malyan in the Fars province of Iran; Uruk period Tell Brak; and Uruk period Hacienbi Tepe. She co-curated the traveling exhibition of the “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur” from the Penn Museum. Among her publications are over 50 articles, the third edition of the world history textbook Worlds Together, Worlds Apart and several monographs, including The Glazed Steatite Glyptic Style: The Structure and Function of an Image System in the Administration of Protoliterate Mesopotamia, Art of the Bronze Age: Southeastern Iran, Western Central Asia and the Indus Valley, which was translated into Persian, and Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Martin and Sarah Cherkasky Collection, with Joan Aruz. In May of 2008 she was cited by the Kerman Cultural Ministry for her contribution to the archaeology of Kerman Province, Iran. 

Prior to being named the Bok Family Professor, Dr. Pittman held the College for Women Class of 1963 Endowed Term Professorship in the Humanities in the School of Arts and Sciences. She has been a member of the Penn faculty since 1989. Before coming to Penn she was the associate curator of the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Bok Family Professorship in the Humanities was created in 2007 with a gift from Roxanne Conisha Bok, C’81, Scott L. Bok, C’81, W’81, L’84, and the Bok Family Foundation. Mr. Bok, a University trustee, is co-chief executive officer of Greenhill & Co., Inc., an investment banking firm. Mrs. Bok began her career in banking and retailing before earning a master’s degree in American literature at King’s College London.


Almanac - December 7, 2010, Volume 57, No. 14