Armenia & Georgia with Art Historian Dr. Keelan Overton ~ Monasteries, Manuscripts, Mountains, and Modernism

Nestled between the Black and Caspian Seas at a strategic meeting point between Russia, Turkey, and Iran, Armenia and Georgia are the most historically complex and beautiful countries of the Caucuses. Inclined toward both Europe and the Islamic world, Armenia and Georgia afford visitors an incredibly rich and layered history, as well as a constant study of contrasts. On this tour, you will learn about the dawn of Christianity alongside Islam and Soviet-period atheism, get lost in medieval labyrinths while tasting world-famous wines in progressive bars, and experience a range of incredible landscapes from snow-capped mountains to barren golden cliffs subtly masking stone monasteries. Covering monasteries, mountains, manuscripts, modernism, and many things in between, this itinerary offers an incredible range of art and architectural history alongside delicious cuisine, innovative luxury hotels, and stunning hospitality from your Armenian and Georgian hosts. This SBMA-designed tour offers behind-the-scenes access to museum collections and architectural sites, as well as dialogues with local NGOs and cultural heritage advocates. It is led by Dr. Keelan Overton, a historian of art and architecture, who researched much of this itinerary during the summer of 2019.

Tour Guide

Dr. Keelan Overton

Keelan Overton received her PhD in Islamic art history from UCLA in 2011 and her Masters degree in art history from Williams College. Before moving to Santa Barbara, Dr. Overton was an Associate Curator at LACMA, and prior to that, the Curator of Islamic Art at Shangri La in Honolulu (the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art). As an independent scholar, Overton divides her time between teaching, writing, research, and travel. Her recent travels have taken her to the Deccan, Iran, Morocco (our 2018 tour), Scotland, and Armenia and Georgia, where she researched historical connections with Iran, explored Armenia and Georgia as budding tourist destinations, and helped to plan this tour for SBMA. Overton's forthcoming book with Indiana University Press is entitled Iran and the Deccan: Persianate Art, Culture, and Talent in Circulation, 1400-1700, and has been supported by grants from the College Art Association and Persian Heritage Foundation. She has been a guest lecturer at SBMA and is currently a Visiting Scholar in UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, where she is working on her next book.



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