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Portrait of Lisa Uddin

Lisa Uddin

Associate Professor of Art History, Paul Garett Fellow


Professor Uddin is a teacher-scholar of modern and contemporary visual culture, race, and the environmental humanities. She grew up in a Swedish and Bengali white-collar immigrant family in suburban Toronto, and with artists, architects and community radio broadcasters in urban Montreal. Before coming to Whitman, she taught art history at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. and did postdoctoral research in the environmental humanities at the University of Minnesota and Brown University's Pembroke Center. At Whitman, she helps students learn the complexity and power of images, artifacts, built environments and exhibitions, and connect that knowledge to critical-reparative projects, from climate change science to social justice work.


Ph.D. Visual and Cultural Studies
University of Rochester

M.A. Visual and Cultural Studies
University of Rochester

M.A. Media Studies
Concordia University-Montréal

B.A. North American Studies
McGill University

Courses Taught by Professor Uddin

  • Photographing Difference
  • Architectures of Race
  • Critical Art History
  • Mayhem, Machines, Manifestos: Modernism in Art and Architecture
  • Blackness and the Arts
  • Indigenous Aesthetics: Native North American Art and Visual Culture
  • Senior Seminar in Art History

Professor Uddin studies the visual and spatial lives of race, focusing on formations of whiteness and blackness within U.S. urbanism, environmental discourse, and settler colonialism. She is the author of Zoo Renewal: White Flight and the Animal Ghetto (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and several other writings on race and animality. She co-edits with Michael B. Gillespie (NYU) Black One Shot, an online art criticism series devoted to blackness and the arts, and collaborates on regional arts and visual culture projects. Her current book project follows design practices initiated by African-American artists, activists, and heritage workers to detail how forms of blackness have reimagined settler colonial constructions of open space in the U.S. West.

“The Fugitivity of Black Panther Oakland,” in Design Radicals: Spaces of Bay Area Counterculture, eds. Greg Castillo and Lee Stickells (forthcoming with University of Minnesota Press).

Black One Shot, eds. Lisa Uddin and Michael Boyce Gillespie, ASAP/JJune-September, 2020, June-September 2018.

“And Thus Not Glowing Brightly: Noah Purifoy’s Junk Modernism,” in Race and Modern Architecture, eds. Mabel O. Wilson, Irene Cheng, Charles Davis. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020.

" Radical Shit: Countercultural Autonomy and Composting Toilet Design,"  ASAP/J, February 13, 2020. 

" Thumper’s Descent,"  ASAP/J, August 13, 2018.

" The Matter of Black Life," Los Angeles Review of Books, January 7, 2016.  

Zoo Renewal: White Flight and the Animal GhettoUniversity of Minnesota Press, 2015.

2019, Louis B. Perry Faculty-Student Summer Research Scholarship, Whitman College 

2018, Paul Garrett Fellowship for excellence in research, teaching and service, Whitman College 

2017, Getty Library Research Grant, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA 

2017, Sally Ann Abshire award for faculty-student research, Whitman College

2012, Corcoran College of Art and Design Faculty Development Research Grant 

2009, Quadrant Fellowship in Environment, Culture and Sustainability, University of Minnesota, MN 

2008-09, Pembroke Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brown University, Providence RI 

2007, Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington DC 

2007, Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design, Garden Club of America and Landscape Architecture Foundation

2004, Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender & Women’s Studies, Graduate Research Grant 

2004, University of Rochester, Celeste Hughes Bishop Award for academic accomplishments, teaching achievements, and general contributions 

2002-06, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Doctoral Fellowship 

2002-04, Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture, Québec, Doctoral Fellowship

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