Maya Harakawa

Assistant Professor (she/her)
Sidney Smith Hall, Room 6048



Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies (faculty affiliate)
Centre for Caribbean Studies (faculty affiliate)

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Black Art in North America and the Caribbean
  • The Relationship between Art and Politics


I am an art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art of the African Diaspora, with a particular emphasis on the United States. In my research and teaching, I focus on the relationship between art and politics, with a particular interest in questions related to methodology and historiography. My work critically interrogates assumptions around what has traditionally constituted “radicalism” or “vanguardism” in Art History, using lessons derived from Black Studies to challenge the discipline’s normative values, particularly their continued investments in whiteness. Fellowships from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora have supported my current book project on art and Harlem in the 1960s.

My courses run the gamut from general surveys of Black Art in North America to special topics courses on Civil Rights and Black Power, Black Modernisms, the relationship between Black Studies and Art History, Caribbean Art, and Art of the 1960s. An investment in the power of close-looking and visual analysis grounds all my teaching. In upper-level and graduate courses, I stress the importance of method, encouraging students to actively interrogate their art historical investments and develop personal approaches to studying the visual world. I encourage prospective graduate students interested in working on topics related to my current research to contact me via email.


PhD Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY
MPhil Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY
BA Art History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Williams College