B.A., University of Iowa
M.A., Tulane University
Ph.D., Indiana University
Specialization: Africa and the African Diaspora
Heather Shirey's primary area of research is in Brazil, with a specific focus on art, politics and identity construction in the African-Brazilian religion Candomblé. Her current research projects involve a comparative study of the position of material culture in identity politics and spiritual practices in Africa and the African Diaspora.
"Constructing Meaning: Candomlé Beads and Identity in Salvador da Bahia Brazil." Forthcoming in Nova Religio 16.1 (August 2012).
"Ancestry, Art and Commodity: María Magdalena Campos-Pons's My Mother Told Me I Am Chinese series." Conference Proceedings from "Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora" (forthcoming, SUNY Press, August 2012).
"María Magdalena Campos-Pons: New Investigations into Diasporic Identity and History. Review of Life Has Not Even Begun, new work by María Magdalena Campos-Pons at Glass Curtain Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago, January 26-March 6, 2009." African Arts 43.4 (Winter 2010) 84-86.
"Dialogue Essay: Dreams of Home in Expanding Diasporas." African Arts 42.2 (Summer 2009) 7-11.
"Transforming the Orixás. Candomlé in Sacred and Secular Spaces in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil." African Arts 42.4 (Winter 2009) 62-79.
Recent research presentations
International American Studies Association Conference, "Pierre Verger's Candomblé Imagery in A Cigarra." Paper presentation, Rio de Janeiro, July 2011.
Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial Symposium, "Pierre Verger and the Creation of Candomblé Nagô’s Canonical Imagery," Paper presentation, Los Angeles, March 2011.
Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora Conference at The City College of New York, "Ancestry, Art and Commodity: María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s My Mother Told Me I Am Chinese series," Paper presentation, New York City, April 22-24, 2010.
College Art Association Annual Conference, "Defining the Diaspora; Appropriating Public Spaces in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil" on the panel "(Re)Claiming Africa in the Diaspora," Paper presentation and Panel Co-Chair, Dallas, February 2008.
International Conference on Afro-Hispanic Studies Across the Disciplines, "Understanding Religious Juxtapositions Through Material Culture: Candomblé, Santeria and Vodou Altars in a Cross-Cultural Perspective," Paper presentation, Accra, Ghana, August 2007.
Arts Council of the African Studies Association 14th Triennial Conference, "(Re)Claiming Africa in the Diaspora," Chair and discussant, Gainesville, March 2007.
Recent grants and awards
Research Assistance Grant, awarded by the University of St. Thomas Faculty Development Center for research in Brazil in January 2008
The Textile Society of America Fellowship for Young Professionals, awarded for travel and research in Ghana in January 2005
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, awarded for dissertation research in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, December 2000-December 2001
Undergraduate: Introduction to Art History; Arts of the African Diaspora; Arts of Africa; Modern Mexican Art.
Graduate seminars: African American Art; Methodology; African Art in Transition; Diapora: Continuity and Change; Adornnment and Identity in African Art; Colonial/Post-Colonial Art