Global Arts and Cultures

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Faculty

Constantly testing the assumptions of their own fields, the professors who teach in GAC are deeply invested in pushing the bounds of traditional scholarship. Their research and teaching exemplify the value of the interdisciplinary ethos at the heart of the program.

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson

Graduate Program Director
Associate Professor of Art History

Alero Akporiaye

Alero Akporiaye

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

Patricia Felisa Barbeito

Patricia Felisa Barbeito

Professor of American Literatures

Bolaji Campbell

Bolaji Campbell

Professor of African and African Diaspora Art

Namita Vijay Dharia

Namita Vijay Dharia

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Lindsay French

Lindsay French

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Avishek Ganguly

Avishek Ganguly

Assistant Professor of Drama and Performance Studies

Jonathan Bishop Highfield

Jonathan Bishop Highfield

Professor of Postcolonial Literatures

Jung Joon Lee

Jung Joon Lee

Assistant Professor of Art History

Leora Maltz-Leca

Leora Maltz-Leca

Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History

Ijlal Muzaffar

Ijlal Muzaffar

Associate Professor of Modern Architectural History

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Assistant Professor of Art History

Andrew Robarts

Andrew Robarts

Assistant Professor of History

Mark Sherman

Mark Sherman

Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Literatures

Foad Torshizi

Foad Torshizi

Assistant Professor of Art History

Eric Anderson

Graduate Program Director
Associate Professor of Art History

PhD, Columbia University
BA, Williams College

Eric Anderson is the Graduate Program Director of Global Arts and Cultures and an associate professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture department. His teaching and research focus on the history of modern design and theory. Recent courses taught include Design and Psychology, The Bauhaus, Global Design History, and The Exhibition, a joint studio-history course co-taught by Anderson and faculty in the Interior Architecture department.

Anderson’s research areas include interiors, furniture and product design; design exhibitions and design media; and the intersection of discourses in design and the natural sciences. He has lectured internationally, most recently in China, Greece and the UK, and spent the spring of 2017 in Vienna as the Fulbright-Freud Fellow at the Sigmund Freud Museum and visiting lecturer at the University of Applied Arts.

Alero Akporiaye

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

PhD, MPP, University of Texas, Dallas
BSBA, University of Arizona

Alero Akporiaye joined the RISD faculty in 2016, after earning her PhD in Public Policy and Political Economy from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2014. Prior to RISD, she spent two years as a visiting assistant professor and lecturer in the Politics Department at Bates College. She offers courses in international and comparative political economy and international politics, including Political Economy of Global Supply Chains, Political Economy of Natural Resources, Women in the International Political Economy and International Politics. Valuing the importance of embodied diversity in her curricular and extracurricular work, Akporiaye is particularly interested in supporting and highlighting issues affecting women, students of color and first-generation college students.

Patricia Felisa Barbeito

Professor of American Literatures

PhD, MA, Harvard University
BA, Brandeis University

Patricia Felisa Barbeito teaches courses on race and ethnicity in American literature; the African American literary tradition; captivity and prison narratives; magical realism; the Latin American novel; and noir fiction and film. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Barbeito’s research focuses on African-American literature and culture of 1940s-1960s, in particular the protest literature of the period.

Barbeito is currently working on One Jump Ahead of Disaster: The Politics of Race, Interracial Sex, and Literary Style in Chester Himes’s Writing, a critical analysis of the African American author’s work. She is also a translator of contemporary Greek fiction and poetry, and in 2013 she was awarded the MGSA Constantinides Translation Prize for her translation of Elias Maglinis’ The Interrogation.

Bolaji Campbell

Professor of African and African Diaspora Art

PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison
MFA, BA, Obafemi Awolowo University

Bolaji Campbell teaches courses on African and African Diaspora Art and Visual Culture in the Department of History of Art and Visual Culture of RISD’s Liberal Arts Division, with additional teaching and research focus on African American Art and Visual Culture. Campbell holds a PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and MFA and BA degrees in fine arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He has previously taught at Obafemi Awolowo University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Sylvia and Pamela Coleman Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and The Richard A. Horovitz Professional Development Fund Fellowship, Institute of International Education; and a Postdoctoral Fellowship, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Campbell is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who and Bibliography (Smithsonian Institution) and L’Art Africain Contemporain, Guidebook to Contemporary African Art (Paris). He has published numerous essays in learned journals and as chapters in books. His most recent work is a book entitled Painting for the Gods: Art and Aesthetics of Yoruba Religious Murals (Africa World Press, 2008).

Namita Vijay Dharia

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

PhD, AM, Harvard University
MArch, Cornell University
BArch, Sir J.J. College of Architecture

Namita Dharia is a socio-cultural anthropologist and architect whose research focuses on urban South Asia. In 2016 she came to RISD, where she teaches courses on design anthropology and cities of the Global South. Her interest in urban areas developed during her studies and career as an architect and urban designer in India in the late 1990s, before moving to study the broader social dynamics of construction worlds for her PhD research in anthropology. She conducts research through a scalar methodology, from the single individual in the city to that of objects and architectures, to urban infrastructures and regions.

An interdisciplinary scholar, Dharia is interested in bridging design, planning and social science methodologies and theories. Recent collaborations include a study of large-scale temporary cities and architectures such as the Kumbh Mela festival city that assembles and dissembles within the span of three months and ethnographic design projects in Detroit.

Lindsay French

Associate Professor of Anthropology

PhD, Harvard University
MA, BA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Lindsay French teaches anthropology in RISD’s Department of History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences at RISD. Her research interests focus on post-Pol Pot Cambodia and the process of social and cultural reconstruction in the aftermath of genocide. In her current project, she looks at Cambodian families divided by war, displacement and migration, and the efforts to maintain family ties attenuated by time, space, politics and very different economic opportunities. More generally, French is interested in migration, both voluntary and forced; Buddhism and everyday life in different parts of the world; the political economy of international interventions; and the challenges of representation, whether ethnographic, photographic, theatrical or curatorial.

Avishek Ganguly

Assistant Professor of Drama and Performance Studies

PhD, MPhil, MA, Columbia University
MA, Jawaharlal Nehru University
BA, Presidency College, Calcutta

In his research and teaching, Avishek Ganguly focuses on the various intersections between contemporary drama, literature and performance, and questions of translation and multilingualism, the formation of collectivities, and everyday life and urban space. He has also published articles on contemporary urban musical cultures in India and has a range of ongoing projects in South Asia-based comparative cultural studies (including popular cinema). He is currently a Research Fellow at the International Research Center, Freie Universitat in Berlin, and in 2015 he was awarded RISD’s first Global Faculty Fellowship. Ganguly’s works in progress include a book project that looks at how multilingualism and translation gets figured across a range of contemporary dramatic and performance texts.

Jonathan Bishop Highfield

Professor of Postcolonial Literatures

PhD, MA, University of Iowa
BA, Transylvania University

Jonathan Bishop Highfield is the author of Food and Foodways in African Narratives: Community, Culture, and Heritage and Imagined Topographies: From Colonial Resource to Postcolonial Homeland. His essays have been published in several books and journals, including Antipodes; Atlantic Studies; Canadian Journal of Irish Studies; The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability; The Jonestown Report; Kunapipi; Passages; and Rupkatha.

In his research and teaching, Highfield explores the intersection between postcolonial studies and ecocriticism, focusing on the nexus of social justice, colony and ecology, and the role of food and foodways in novels, films and art. His courses taught include Design in Words, Suffera No More: Caribbean Literature and Politics and Dialogue Across the Diaspora: Haiti, South Africa, Art, and Narratives of Resistance, a travel course in association with the Centre for Curating the Archive, University of Cape Town, and the Slave Lodge Museum in Cape Town, South Africa.

Jung Joon Lee

Assistant Professor of Art History

PhD, CUNY Graduate Center
MA, CUNY Hunter College
BA, Miami University

Jung Joon Lee teaches classes on histories and theories of photography. In her research she focuses on the visual culture of militarism, the politics of vernacular photography, colonial photography, and postcolonial theory and criticism. She received her PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Prior to her postgraduate studies in art history, Lee was trained in urban planning and worked on projects involving global consortiums.

Lee’s research centers on the discursive ways in which photography engages with the formation of political subjectivity. Her recent publication topics include photography and nation building, photo portraits and the rhetoric of family, the use of US camptown studio portraits in artworks, and photography and postcolonial memories in Hong Kong. Lee is currently working on a book-length project examining the ways that the medium of photography and its subjects have been politicized as transnational militarism shapes life in the two Koreas and beyond in East Asia.

Leora Maltz-Leca

Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History

PhD, MA, Harvard University
MA, Brown University
BA, Yale University

Originally from Durban, South Africa, Leora Maltz-Leca teaches large lectures on global contemporary art and focused seminars on globalization, post-colonialism, race and critical theory. She is recipient of a 2016 CAA Millard Mess publication award, a 2011/2012 Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, a 2011 Creative Capital/ Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writer's Grant and a 2010 Library of Congress Swann fellowship for her forthcoming book on William Kentridge, Process as Metaphor & Other Doubtful Enterprises. The book explores how the South African artist renders the physical processes of the studio—cutting, pasting and projecting light —as metaphors for the way we think and live. Her second book, Material Politics, focuses similarly on how some of the most compelling artists working today plumb the histories and associations of specific materials to literally materialize the political through the formal.

Ijlal Muzaffar

Associate Professor of Modern Architectural History

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MARC, Princeton University
BSD, Arizona State University
BS, University of Punjab, Quaid-I-Azam Campus

Ijlal Muzaffar teaches and pursues research on humanitarian design and the history and theory of modern architecture. Before joining the Liberal Arts faculty at RISD, he taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, as Visiting Faculty in the Department of Art History and the Center for the Study of Global Change. He has also taught in the Program in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art at MIT, from where he also received his PhD in 2007.

Muzaffar’s scholarly interests include the history of globalization and Third World development, political ecology and environmentalism, cultural studies, feminist and Marxist criticism, and postcolonial criticism. He is working on a book that looks at how modern architects and planners played a critical role in shaping the discourse on Third World development and its associated structures of power and intervention in the postwar era.

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Assistant Professor of Art History

PhD, MA, New York University
BA, Swarthmore College

Sean Nesselrode Moncada teaches Latin American art and visual culture. His research examines the contested development of modernism in the Americas and its uneven reception and implementation across the hemisphere. He has written on subjects including urban planning and the industrialization of the landscape in Venezuela, the politics of concrete and kinetic art in South America and interdisciplinary public intervention as mode of resistance or critique. His current book project focuses on the artistic, architectural and theoretical development of Venezuelan modernism(s) at the height of the 20th-century oil boom, looking to the relationship between industry and patronage as well as the broader ideological stakes of visuality under an emergent petrostate. Nesselrode Moncada is also coordinator of the Providence and Rhode Island–area ACRAH Reading Group.

Andrew Robarts

Assistant Professor of History

PhD, MS, Georgetown University
BA, Bowdoin College

Before joining RISD to teach modern Middle Eastern history, Andrew Robarts taught at the University of California, Riverside and Central Connecticut State University. His teaching and research interests combine the traditional geography-based and chronology-dissected approach to history with thematic, transnational and world-historical approaches. As a historian of the Ottoman Empire, he is particularly sensitive to the ways in which nationalist historiography, the area studies canon of US universities and international political regimes have carved up post-imperial spaces. He is currently developing a project on environment, space and human mobility in the Ottoman Empire.

Robarts was born and raised in the Middle East (Beirut, Lebanon and Cairo, Egypt) and worked for seven years in the refugee and humanitarian relief field for the International Rescue Committee (in New York, east Africa, Azerbaijan and Baltimore) and for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (in Washington, DC).

Mark Sherman

Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Literatures

PhD, MA, BA, University of Rhode Island

Whenever he is asked what he teaches at RISD, Mark Sherman tries to keep it simple by responding, “Old stuff.” He is interested in intertextual exchanges among narrative poets, and his primary topics of inquiry are located geographically between England and Italy, and historically between the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. How writers in these various zones employed the literature of antiquity (Roman in particular) is central to his thinking as well, so his scholarship tends to focus on questions of historicity and ideology, cultural exchange and transformation, as well as the evolving relationships among gender, representation, authority and violence that feed into ideas of modernity. Few poetic genres register this complex of issues quite so well as the epic, and he teaches several courses in which epic poetry figures prominently. His recent research has taken up questions of political theology and post-Copernican cosmology in early modern writers and how a radically altered view of creation informed their ethical, political and artistic perspectives.

Foad Torshizi

Assistant Professor of Art History

PhD, MPhil, Columbia University
MA, University of Minnesota
MFA, Honar University of Tehran

In his research, Foad Torshizi focuses in the areas of global contemporary art, contemporary Iranian and Middle Eastern art, postcolonial theory, theories of globalization and cosmopolitanism, comparative literature and politics of translation and interpretation. In 2017 he came to RISD, where he teaches art of the Islamic world. Prior to RISD, he taught graduate students at Tehran University, advanced undergraduates and graduate students at the Università degli Studi di Milano in Italy as well as undergraduate students at Columbia University’s Core Curriculum.

Torshizi is currently working on a manuscript project entitled “The Clarity of Meaning”: Contemporary Iranian Art and the Cosmopolitan Ethics of Reading in Art History. The manuscript examines the ways in which western disciplinary forms, and more specifically art criticism, return home to circumscribe aesthetic diversity in Iran, demanding that the aesthetic economies of Iranian artifacts align with Euro-American understandings of meaning, value, aspiration and desire.