Tufts University  |  School of Arts and Sciences  |  Find People  | 


Peter Probst
Professor, Art History Transfer of Credit Representative, and
Adjunct Professor of Anthropology

Contact Info:
Tufts University
Dept. of Art & Art History
11 Talbot Avenue
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617-627-2939
Email Prof. Probst

African art, memory and monuments, historic preservation, anthropologies of art, historiography

Ph.D., Free University Berlin, 1990
M.Phil., Cambridge University, 1984
M.A., Free University Berlin, 1983

Download the professor's CV >

Scholarship and Research:
The study of African art is a hybrid field shared by art historians and anthropologists. My own scholarship and research echo this feature. Over the course of years I have written books about the ritual aesthetics of belonging in Malawi, the notion of African modernities and the dynamics of modernism in Nigeria. Currently, I am working on two new book projects. The first one focuses on what the Austrian art historian Alois Riegl at the beginning of the 20th century called the "modern cult of monuments." Prompted by my research in Nigeria I am interested in the ways by which this cult has spread from Europe to other parts of the globe. The second project is a historiographic study and addresses the formation and transformation of African art history. Provisionally entitled "From Einstein to Enwezor" the book investigates the shifting values and interests of the discipline from early twentieth century to the present.

Selected Books and Edited Volumes:

  • in preparation. The Gift of Heritage. Historical Preservation and the Values of Exchange
  • in preparation. From Einstein to Enwezor: The Making of African Art History
  • 2012. Iconoclash in the Age of Heritage (guest editor). African Arts, Vol. 45, No. 3
  • 2011. Osogbo and the Art of Heritage. Monuments, Deities, and Money. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press (2012 book award of the Nigerian Studies Association)
  • 2009. Hybrid Heritage (guest editor together with Ferdinand De Jong). African Arts, Vol. 42, No. 4
  • 2007. Visual Publics (guest editor). Critical Interventions. Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture, Vol 1, No. 2
  • 2005. Between Resistance and Expansion: Explorations of Local Vitality in Africa (co-edited with Gerd Spittler). Lit Verlag
  • 2005. Kalumbas Fest. Lokalit├Ąt, Geschichte und Rituelle Praxis in Malawi. Berlin: Lit
  • 2002. African Modernities (co-edited with J.G. Deutsch and H. Schmitt). Oxford: James Currey