Salah M. Hassan to Explore "Afropolitanism" in Distinguished Lecture at Amherst College



March 28, 2013
Rachel Rogol, 413-542-2295
Hi-res images available upon request 


Amherst, MA -- On Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m., Salah M. Hassan, an internationally celebrated curator, public intellectual, university professor, and renowned expert on contemporary African and African diaspora art, will deliver the lecture "Rethinking Cosmopolitanism: Is 'Afropolitan' the Answer?" in Cole Assembly Room of Amherst College's Converse Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.


Hassan's lecture will offer a critical analysis of contemporary African and African diaspora artistic production, considering the rising interest in exhibiting and collecting works by contemporary African and diaspora artists among western museums, private and public collections. The lecture will also focus on the use of the term "Afropolitan," and consider the notion of "cosmopolitanism" in relationship to the entanglement of Africa and the West and its reconfiguration at the intersection of Modernity and postcoloniality.


"Professor Hassan is a leading expert on contemporary African art and a curator of note," observed Amherst College President Carolyn "Biddy" Martin, whose office is co-sponsoring the talk. "We're thrilled to be able to provide our students and our community with this exciting opportunity to grapple with his groundbreaking, productively disruptive ideas."


Hassan is the Goldwin Smith Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), and Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Center, and the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University. He is also works as a curator, organizing international exhibitions at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and the Dakar Biennale in 2004. He is the editor and founder of  Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and a consulting editor for Atlantica and the Journal of Curatorial Studies. Hassan is also the recipient of several fellowships, including the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, as well as major grants from the Ford, Rockefeller, Andy Warhol and Prince Claus Fund foundations.


Hassan's numerous publications as an author and editor include Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (2012); Diaspora, Memory, Place (2008); Unpacking Europe (2001); Authentic/Ex-Centric (2001); Gendered Visions: The Art of Contemporary Africana Women Artists (1997); Art and Islamic Literacy among the Hausa of Northern Nigeria (1992); Darfur and the Crisis of Governance: A Critical Reader (2009). He guest edited a special issue of (SAQ) South Atlantic Quarterly on African Modernism (2010), and has contributed essays to journals, anthologies and exhibition catalogues of contemporary art.


Hassan's lecture at Amherst has been organized by Rowland O. Abiodun, the John C. Newton Professor of the History of Art and Black Studies and Chair of Black Studies at Amherst College. It is co-sponsored by Amherst College's departments of Black Studies, Art and the History of Art, the Mead Art Museum, and the Office of the President.

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, spanning 5,000 years and encompassing the creative achievements of many world cultures. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. The museum and its gift shop-café are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, and until midnight on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday during the academic term.


For more information, including a complete schedule of all museum events, please visit or call 413/542-2335.