Global Arts and Cultures

Asset 1
Asset 1

Faculty

The GAC program is led by full-time faculty in the humanities and social sciences who combine rigorous and creative pedagogy, sophisticated critical engagement with global issues and research expertise in a broad range of topics and areas of the world. GAC faculty are united in their deep engagement with visuality and materiality informed by RISD’s commitment to critical art and design practice.

Avishek Ganguly

Avishek Ganguly

Graduate Program Director
Associate Professor of Drama and Performance Studies

Alero Akporiaye

Alero Akporiaye

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

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

Jung Joon Lee

Jung Joon Lee

Associate Professor of Art History

Leora Maltz-Leca

Leora Maltz-Leca

Professor of Contemporary Art History

Ijlal Muzaffar

Ijlal Muzaffar

Associate Professor of Modern Architectural History

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Graduate Program Director
Assistant Professor of Art History

Andrew Robarts

Andrew Robarts

Associate Professor of History

Mark Sherman

Mark Sherman

Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Literatures

Foad Torshizi

Foad Torshizi

Assistant Professor of Art History

Avishek Ganguly

Graduate Program Director
Associate 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.

Alero Akporiaye

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

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

Alero Akporiaye teaches courses on international politics and international political economy, including political economy of global supply chains, international human rights and law, and gendered political economy. Her courses examine how international political forces affect socioeconomic processes, events and outcomes.

Akporiaye's research interests are broadly centered on the politics of foreign direct investment: political risk and multinational corporations, political economy of energy extraction, corporate social responsibility and experimental methods in international political economy.

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 Theory and History of Art and Design 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 teaches issues related to postcolonial urbanism, labor, architecture and aesthetics. She offers courses on comparative urbanisms in the Global South, design anthropology, anthropology of innovation, and materiality and materialisms, among other topics.

Dharia's book manuscript—entitled the Industrial Ephemeral—studies the role of aesthetics in construction industries and comments on the politics of design and labor in the urban development of India’s National Capital Region. She is interested in non-elite design cultures and everyday art and aesthetics, as well as environmental ecologies and material cultures.

Lindsay French

Associate Professor of Anthropology

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

Lindsay French teaches courses on refugees, labor migrants and displaced people; Buddhism and society; ethnography, oral history and community engagement; and contemporary issues in Mainland Southeast Asia.

Her longterm ethnographic engagement with Cambodian peoples provides the foundation for research on social and cultural reconstruction in the aftermath of genocide. She has focused in particular on families divided by war, displacement and migration, and efforts to maintain family ties attenuated by time, space, politics and very different economic opportunities. Her interest in different forms of ethnographic representation has led to recent collaborations in filmmaking.

Jung Joon Lee

Associate Professor of Art History

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

Jung Joon Lee specializes in the history and theory of photography. Lee teaches courses on the global history of photography, photo-portraiture and issues of identity, photography and its relationship to militarism, and special topics in lens-based practices in Asia.

Lee is currently completing a monograph that examines how the medium and subjects of photography have been politicized while transnational militarism shapes life in the two Koreas. Her second book-length project explores gender issues in epistemological practices of photography--namely, photographic archives and methodologies. Lee’s articles have appeared in such journals as History of Photography, photographies and PhotoResearcher. She is the recipient of the 2018-19 Smithsonian Libraries Baird Society Resident Scholar Fellowship, where she is examining photographic archives of World’s Fairs.

Leora Maltz-Leca

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

Graduate Program Director
Assistant Professor of Art History

PhD, MA, New York University
BA, Swarthmore College

Sean Nesselrode Moncada teaches and writes about Latin American and Latinx art and visual culture. His research focuses on visual and material modernisms, their uneven implementation across the hemisphere and their contested social and ecological dimensions. In his courses, he invites students to consider how images proliferate and behave in the world, encouraging an expanded view of what constitutes artistic production and who merits inclusion in our received histories.

He has published on subjects including the politics of geometric abstraction in South America, the relationship between graphic design and the oil industry at midcentury and the rise and fall of informalist aesthetics as part of the leftist counterculture of 1960s Venezuela. His current book project examines the material, spatial and theoretical development of Venezuelan modernism(s) through the lens of petroleum extraction and refinement. His writings appear in such journals as Architectural Theory Review, Caiana: Revista de Historia del Arte y Cultura Visual del Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte and Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas.

Andrew Robarts

Associate Professor of History

PhD, MS, Georgetown University
BA, Bowdoin College

Andrew Robarts teaches courses on Islam and the Islamic World, Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire, and Russia, focusing on questions of identity in the imperial context, migration and mobility, regionalism, and international relations.

Robarts' first book investigated migration and the spread of epidemic diseases in the maritime space of the Black Sea region. This analysis was undertaken within the context of Ottoman/Turkish-Russian relations in the modern period. His current manuscript project will, from a world historical perspective, survey Russian influence in, interaction with and impact on the Middle East across the early modern and modern periods.

Mark Sherman

Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Literatures

PhD, MA, BA, University of Rhode Island

Mark Sherman’s main interest is in late-medieval and early modern European literature, particularly the Anglo-Italian connection through narrative poetry. His recent research focuses on political theology, speculative cosmologies, the mythologies of place and poetic historiography, and his primary theoretical interests concern the work of Giorgio Agamben, Hans Blumenberg and Walter Benjamin.

Sherman has published critical essays on Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, Dante Alighieri and Mikhail Bakhtin, and he has undertaken collaborative teaching with colleagues in the Illustration and Landscape Architecture departments and the Experimental and Foundation Studies division. Among his recent courses are Epic, Losing Paradise/Inventing the World, Art, Magic and Science in the Renaissance, and Radical Theater: Bertolt Brecht and Dario Fo.

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.