Silvia Naef is a full professor at the Arabic Studies Section of the University of Geneva since 2006, where she obtained her Ph.D. in 1993 with a thesis on modern art in the Arab world (published in 1996). As a postdoctoral scholar, she worked on Shia in Iraq and Lebanon and their relation to left-wing ideologies, in Germany (Tübingen and Freiburg im Breisgau, 1993-1996) and Basel (Switzerland, 1996-2000), with grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Janggen-Pöhn Foundation (St. Gallen, Switzerland). She has taught in Tübingen (1995/96) and Basel (1997-2000); in 2000, she became an associate professor at the University of Geneva.
At present, her research focusses on modern art, visual representations and images, as well as in gender issues in the Arab and Islamic world. She was the leading reasearcher of the four years Sinergia research project “Other Modernities: Patrimony and Practices of Visual Expression Outside the West”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2013-2017), codirected by Prof. Irene Maffi (University of Lausanne) and Prof. Wendy Shaw (Free University Berlin), which resulted in a publication in Artl@s Bulletin (2020). She is part of the research group ARVIMM (Visual Arts in the Maghreb and the Middle East — 19th-21st century) and co-organizes a seminar on this topic at the Institute for Muslim Studies and Societies (IISMM) at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. She presently works on a research project about donations by countries of the MENA region to international organizations in Geneva, funded by the Fondation Boninchi.