Professor of Anthropology (Secondary Appointment)
Department of History of Art
11 Talbot Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
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Art and Anthropology, African art and visual culture, Museum and Heritage Studies, Historiography
Ph.D., Free University Berlin, 1990
M.Phil., Cambridge University, 1984
M.A., Free University Berlin, 1983
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Scholarship and Research:
Peter Probst works at the intersection of art history and anthropology.
Running through much of this work is an understanding of art as social
practice. With a focus on African art and visual culture his research
has engaged a broad range of issues. The subjects of his books span from
the aesthetics of belonging in Malawi to the dynamics of modernism in
Nigeria and the debate on African modernities. His current interests are
mostly driven changes in the field. Three book projects are under way.
The first project addresses the shifting meanings and debates around the
notion of African art. It asks how the study of African art has changed
since its inception in the late 19th century. The answer is a story
about the making, remaking, and unmaking of African art as a field of
study. The second project results from a fellowship and conference at
the Getty Institute in Los Angeles. Two volumes, one co-edited with Gary
Urton from Harvard, the other co-edited with Joseph Imorde from the
University of Siegen/Germany, interrogate the complex relationship
between art history, art, and anthropology. The third project is a
collaboration with Ray Silverman from the University of Michigan.
Following a conference in Accra/Ghana, we have invited African and
Euro-American curators and scholars to jointly explore the question what
is the role and status of a National Museum in Africa today. This
project too will result in an edited volume.