Lisa Uddin

AHVCS Department Chair, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies and Paul Garrett Fellow

PhD (Visual and Cultural Studies), University of Rochester, 2009
MA (Visual and Cultural Studies), University of Rochester, 2006
MA (Media Studies), Concordia University, Montréal, 2002
BA (North American Studies), McGill University, 1996

Areas of interest

Race and visual culture; black aesthetics; human-nonhuman relations and representations; archives and intimacy; U.S. urbanism; histories and historiographies of modern art and architecture


  • Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture Studies
  • Mayhem, Machines, Manifestos: Modernism in Art and Architecture
  • The Social Life of Photography
  • Forms and Feels: Race and Visual Culture
  • Blues, Blood, Bruise: Blackness in Art
  • Settler Aesthetics (under development)
  • Senior Seminar in Art History


Prof. Uddin researches race and visual culture at the human-nonhuman interface in the 20th Century. This work is theoretically driven, archivally focused, and spans the fields of art, architecture and urban history, feminist theory, animal studies, critical race studies, and black studies. The abiding concern in all of her scholarship is understanding how artists, architects, designers, curators, and other culture makers have cultivated contested modes and meanings of human being, and situating those humanities within planetary futures. Her first book, Zoo Renewal: White Flight and the Animal Ghetto (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), locates the zoo's shift to wildlife conservation displays in the 1960s and 70s within struggles over urban decay, suburban growth, and postwar American whiteness. Her writing has also appeared in journals such as Postmodern Culture, Los Angeles Review of Books, parallax, Humanimalia and Afterimage, and is forthcoming in Race and Modern Architecture (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Design Radicals: Spaces of Bay Area Counterculture (University of Minnesota Press). She has also been co-editor with Michael Boyce Gillespie of "Black One Shot", an art criticism series on ASAP/J. She is currently involved in two projects. The first, tentatively titled Sunspots: Black Frequencies of California Design, is a critical history of modernism and its regional trajectories through the lens of black visual culture. The second is a long-term, collaborative study of and against settler aesthetics. Institutions that have supported Prof. Uddin's work include the Smithsonian Institution, Brown University's Pembroke Center, the University of Minnesota's Institute for Advanced Study, the Getty Research Institute, and Whitman College.