Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies; Associate Professor of African Art and Visual Culture
David T. Doris is an Associate Professor of African Art and Visual Culture at the University of Michigan, in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, the Department of the History of Art, and the Stamps School of Art & Design. He specializes in the history of African arts and visual cultures. His scholarly interests include theories of cross-cultural interpretation, conceptions of an "anti-aesthetic" in African contexts, the phenomenology of "power objects," the representation of Africa and its peoples in world's fairs, theme parks, and other commodity spectacles. He maintains a special focus on the art and culture of the Yoruba people, both in southwestern Nigeria and in the Diaspora. His book, Vigilant Things: On Thieves, Yoruba Anti-Aesthetics, and the Strange Fates of Ordinary Objects in Nigeria (University of Washington Press, 2011), addresses the moral, ethical, and aesthetic roles of assemblages of useless and discarded objects in contemporary Yoruba culture. In 2012, Vigilant Things received the African Studies Association’s Melville J. Herskovits Award, presented for “the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English during the preceding year.” He is currently reconsidering the iconography of the ancient Yoruba Ogboni Society of honored elders, suggesting iconography is a diversion from deeper truths about Ogboni power. Those truths, plainly shown, can't be read and go unseen.
- History of Art
- Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
Field(s) of Study
- African arts and visual cultures