An educator, scholar, humanist, and designer, Farès el-Dahdah earned his undergraduate degrees in fine arts and in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and went on to pursue his graduate studies at Harvard University where bridging of architecture and literary theory was the subject of his doctoral dissertation and a first manifestation of a lifelong commitment to bridging disciplines.
Following a two decade long professorial track at Rice University's School of Architecture, he was appointed director of the Humanities Research Center (HRC) in 2012 and Professor of the Humanities in 2014. Along the trajectory of his career, el-Dahdah was the 2011-12 Cisneros Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, a visiting fellow at the Canadian Center for Architecture, and a recipient of the Arthur W. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship. He has also taught as a visiting professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and is a member of the Computational Humanities Study Group at the University of São Paulo's Institute of Advanced Studies. In addition to his academic activities, el-Dahdah has participated in cultural events at museums in Beirut, Paris, Berlin, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia, including the curation of exhibitions on Lebanon's first constitution and on the 50th anniversary of Brazil's capital. He is published in many countries and regularly lectures in many languages. His current research focuses on developing online geospatial platforms that illustrate the urban evolution of cities as well as on exploring and critiquing how such digital platforms uphold the mission of disseminating knowledge.
To that end, el-Dahdah has co-led a John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures titled, Platforms of Knowledge in a Wide Web of Worlds: Production, Participation, and Politics and is currently co-leading a Rice Seminar titled Chronotopic Imaginaries: The City in Signs, Signals, and Scripts. el-Dahdah's research projects have been supported by philanthropic and government agencies such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Getty Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He serves on the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Art of the Islamic Worlds Subcommittee and on the boards of Casa de Lucio Costa and Fundação Oscar Niemeyer, the archives of which he has helped organize and describe. At Rice, el-Dahdah's activities extend beyond the HRC, as chair of the Information Technology Council's Research Computing Subcommittee and as a member of the Data Sciences Initiative's Programming and Search Committee. He regularly serves on PhD defense committees in the Humanities and Social Sciences while also acting on the advisory panels of Rice's Digital Education Committee and its Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS). As director of the HRC, he is involved in identifying, encouraging, and funding the research projects of faculty, visiting scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students as well as spearheading new ventures in the humanities and beyond.