Heather M. Shirey portrait

Heather M. Shirey

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Degree
B.A., University of Iowa
M.A., Tulane University
Ph.D., Indiana University
Office
44 N. Cleveland Ave.
Phone
(651) 962-5572
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-5572
Mail
44C

Professional interests 

Dr. Heather Shirey’s research and teaching are shaped by the idea that as art historians and citizens of the world, we must all engage deeply and analytically with visual culture, both in the classroom and in our everyday lives.  Her teaching and research are focused on the African Diaspora in Brazil, the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States. Dr. Shirey also has a strong interest in the history of photography and the development of street art.

Specialization: The Arts of the African Diaspora 

Brazil is an important focus for Dr. Shirey’s research, and through her work she seeks to understand art, politics and identity construction in the African-Brazilian religion Candomblé. From a comparative perspective, Dr. Shirey’s research also focuses on the role of photography as it relates to race and regional identity from the 19th century to the present day. Her work of the African Diaspora in Great Britain examines dialogues about a diverse British identity as constructed through public art projects such as Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. In the United States, Dr. Shirey is especially interested in the work of contemporary multi-media artist Magdalena Campos-Pons and her investigation of intersecting identities. In addition, Dr. Shirey is currently engaged in a comparative study of street art in cities across the United States and globally.

Recent Publications

“What does the Baiana really have? The Baiana and African-Brazilian Identity,” in Patrick A. Polk, Roberto Conduru, Sabrina Gledhill, and Randal Johnson, eds., Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis, 130-141. University of California Los Angeles, 2018.

Pierre Verger, Roger Bastide, and A Cigarra: Photography and Anthropology in the Popular Press,” Anthropology and Photography, November, 2017.

 

[Review of Capone, Stefania. Searching for Africa in Brazil: Power and Tradition in Candomblé.] H-AfrArts, H-Net Reviews.March 2013. URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=33075

“Constructing Meaning: Candomblé Beads and Identity in Salvador da Bahia Brazil.”  (Nova Religio, volume 16.1, August 2012). http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2012.16.issue-1

“Meticulous Production and the Embodiment of History: María Magdalena Campos-Pon’s My Mother Told Me I Am Chinese Series,” in Vanessa K. Valdés, ed. The Future is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies. (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 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.” (SUNY Press, 2012). http://muse.jhu.edu/books/9781438442198/

“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.

[Review of Beatriz Góis Dantas, Nagô Grandma and White Papa: Candomblé and the Creation of Afro-Brazilian Identity]. Journal of Folklore Research Reviews, http://www.indiana.edu/~jofr/review.php?id=990, May 18, 2010.

 “Transforming the Orixás: Candomblé in Sacred and Secular Spaces in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil” African Arts. 42:2, Winter 2009, 62-79. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/afar/42/4

 “Dialogue Essay: Dreams of Home in Expanding Diasporas,” African Arts. 42:2 (Summer 2009), 7-11.

Recent Research Presentations

Association for the Worldwide Study of the African Diaspora conference, Helemozão’s Gorda Flor and the “Eternal” Image of Black Female Identity in Brazil,” Paper presentation, November 9, 2017.

Midwest Art History Society Annual Conference, “Yinka Shonibare, Nelson’s Ship, and the Black Atlantic Invasion of Trafalgar Square,” Paper presented on the author’s behalf, April 6, 2017.

College Art Association Annual Conference, “Teaching Contentious Issues in the Introductory Art History Course,” Paper presentation, February 11, 2017.

University of London Institute of Historical Research, Colonial/Postcolonial Seminar, “Engaging Postcolonial Dialogues Through Public Art: Yinka Shonibare’s Ship in a Bottle,” Paper presentation, January 31, 2017.

Ironbridge International Institute for Culture Heritage Urban Heritage Conference, “Representing Resistance to Slavery in the Urban Landscape: Memorials in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,” Paper presentation, Taipei, Taiwan, March 2016.

Association for the Worldwide Study of the African Diaspora Conference, “Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle and London’s African Diaspora,” Paper presentation, Charleston, November 2015.

Ironbridge International Institute for Culture Heritage Urban Heritage Conference, “Representing Resistance to Slavery in the Urban Landscape: Memorials in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,” Paper presentation, Taipei, Taiwan, March 2015.

Association for the Worldwide Study of the African Diaspora Conference, “Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle and London’s African Diaspora,” Paper presentation, Charleston, November 2015.

Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage Conference, “Pierre Verger, Photography, and Transatlantic Dialogues,” Paper presentation, Liverpool, England, July 2015.

Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, “The Image of the Baiana in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,” Paper presentation, San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 2015.

Royal Anthropological Institute Anthropology and Photography Conference, “Pierre Verger and the Construction of Purity in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,” Paper presentation, London, May 2014.

African Studies Association Annual Conference, “Exhibiting Benin Court Art in London: Three Case Studies,” Paper presentation, Baltimore, November 2013.

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 Conferenceat 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.

Recent grants and awards 

University of St. Thomas Faculty Development Grant. “Hidden mentors, oral history, and the production of knowledge in art history: A case study with Nancy “Cici” de Souza e Silva,” 2018-2019. 

University of St. Thomas Graduate Team Research Grant. “Street Art and Political Expression: A Comparative Study,” with Floris Lafontant, Kira Lapinsky, and Theresa Nelson, Summer 2018.

China Academy of Art, Hangzhou China, International Office Travel Grant supporting the design and implementation of “Photography and Modern Art,” a five-day graduate seminar, December 2017.

Fulbright-Terra Foundation U.S. Teaching Scholar Grant, 2015-16.

University of St. Thomas Graduate Research Team Project. “Museums and African Brazilian Identity,” with Alyssa Thiede and Angela Daniels, Summer 2014.

University of St. Thomas Faculty Development Center, Level 1 Research Grant. “Pierre Verger, Carybé and the Creation of Candomblé's Iconic Imagery in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,” for research in Brazil in January 2013.

University of St. Thomas Graduate Research Team Project. “Art, Political Memory, and Identity in London’s Nigerian Diaspora: Yinka Shonibare, Sokari Douglas-Camp, and Emamoke Ukeleghe,” with Sarah Munster-Blakley and Natalie McMonagle, summer 2012.

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.

Invited Lectures and Workshops

“Photography and Modern Art,” Graduate seminar at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, December 8-12, 2017.

“The Shifting Image of the Baiana and Contemporary Responses to the Representation of African Brazilian Women,” Oberlin College, October 22, 2017.

“Finding African in Brazil: Research Approaches,” Oberlin College, October 22, 2017.

“The development of the Baiana” Fowler Museum, University of California Los Angeles, in conjunction with Axé Bahia, October 19, 2017.

“Pierre Verger in Context: Shaping the Perception of Candomblé in the Popular Press,” Fowler Museum, University of California Los Angeles, in conjunction with Africa/Americas: Photographic Portraits by Pierre Verger, October 18, 2017.

“Art Collecting and Colonialism in West Africa,” Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, China, June 27, 2016.

“Art History Graduate Programs in the USA,” Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, China, June 27, 2016.

“Professional Development for Graduate Students,” Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China, June 17, 2016.

“Nationalism in the African Diaspora: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons,” Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China, June 17, 2016.

“Race and Ethnicity in American Art: Deconstructing Stereotypes,” China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, June 15, 2016.

“The Ethics of Museum Collections: From Yuanmingyuan to the Benin Kingdom,” China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, June 14, 2016.

“Professional Development for Graduate Students,” China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, June 14, 2016.

“Art Collecting and Colonial Histories,” Museums and World Civilizations Lecture Series, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China, May 22, 2016.

“Ancient Art, Modern Identities” Museums and World Civilizations Lecture Series, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China, May 22, 2016.

“Professional Development Workshop: Careers in Art History,” Museums and World Civilizations Lecture Series, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China, May 20, 2016.

“Art Historical Canons: Portraits and Power,” Museums and World Civilizations Lecture Series, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China, May 19, 2016.

“The Universal Museum in a Post-Colonial Context,” Southeast University, Nanjing, China, May 9, 2016.

“Art and the Public Sphere: From Augustus to the Rubber Duck,” Southeast University, Nanjing, China, May 9, 2016.

“The Visual Representation of Race in African American Art,” Nanjing Normal University, Honors College, Nanjing, China, May 6, 2016.

“Art Collecting, Ethics and Colonialism,” Nanjing Normal University, Honors College, Nanjing, China, May 4, 2016.

“The Value of Art History in Today’s World,” U.S. Embassy, Beijing, China, April 28th, 2016.

“Art and Commodity in the Arts of the African Diaspora: Campos-Pons, Cuba, and China” Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, April 27th, 2016.

“Nationalism and the Diaspora: Yinka Shonibare and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons,” National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan, March 31st, 2016. 

“Professional Development for Art History Students: Applying to PhD Programs,” National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan, March 29th, 2016.

“Art Collecting and Colonialism in West Africa,” National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan, March 29th, 2016.

“Presenting at Academic Conferences: Best Practices for Graduate Students,” National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan, March 29th, 2016.

Courses taught

Undergraduate: Introduction to Art History; Arts of the African Diaspora; Arts of Africa

Graduate seminars: African American Art; Methodology; African Art in Transition; Diaspora: Continuity and Change; Adornment and Identity in African Art; Colonial/Post-Colonial Art; Photography and Africa and the African Diaspora 

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ARHS 590 - 04 African Art History Curriculum - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

43375 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ARHS 590 - 05 Street Art: Comparative Study - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

43393 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ARHS 593 - 02 Qualifying Paper Prospectus - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

43226 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

During the semester before the student plans to make application for graduation and to graduate, the student must prepare a 10-page typed, double-spaced prospectus. This prospectus must be submitted to the advisor of the qualifying paper, and to the other two faculty members of the Graduation Committee. Prerequisite: ARHS 500. Completion of the language reading requirement. Permission of the department.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ARHS 594 - 03 Qualifying Paper &Presentation - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

43570 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

As a demonstration of the ability to formulate and carry out original and scholarly work in the discipline, all students are required to submit a qualifying paper during the last semester of study. The qualifying paper must also be presented at the annual graduate forum sponsored by the department. Prerequisite: ARHS 593

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ARTH 110 - W40 HONORS Intro to Art History - T - R - - - 0955 - 1135 OEC 203

Days of Week:

- T - R - - -

Time of Day:

0955 - 1135

Location:

OEC 203

Course Registration Number:

42116 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

Through a series of case studies, this course examines the importance of art as cultural expression across time and from a global perspective. In each course section, students will analyze the style, subject, and patronage of works of art, and will explore art's relationship to religion, ideology, society and economy, gender roles, and the interaction of cultures. Case studies will include architecture, sculpture, painting, and other arts, such as ceramics, textiles, and photography. This course fulfills the Fine Arts and Human Diversity core requirements. Consult the department website for details about the specific sections offered.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

J-Term 2019 Courses

J-Term 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2019 Courses

Spring 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ARHS 545 - 01 Documentary Photography - T - - - - - 1730 - 2030 OEC 414

Days of Week:

- T - - - - -

Time of Day:

1730 - 2030

Location:

OEC 414

Course Registration Number:

22273 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

From Civil War battlefields to Tiananmen Square. Inside factories and living rooms. Mountain peaks, city streets, wars, and birthday parties. Public lives and private moments around the world. Since the invention of photography in 1839, photographers around the world have documented people, places, and moments, allowing us to transcend our own experiences through the photograph. This course examines the development of documentary photography over the course of time and space/place, addressing broad questions such as: What is the purpose of documentary photography and how has it changed over time? What is meant by documentary photography, photo-journalism, and photography as art? What is the relationship of photography to notions of "truth"? What ethical issues are at play in the production and consumption of documentary photography? What drives photographers to document the world? Can documentary photographs lead to change in society? We will read key theoretical texts as well as current scholarship on the topic. Other specific topics to explore include photography and the built environment, women documentarians working in a male-dominated field, war photography, photography and racial and social justice, documentary film and its relation to photography, documenting the landscape, and museums/galleries & the acceptance of photography as an art form. While this course is conceived from an art historical perspective, students will be required to experiment with designing and producing their own documentary project (no special equipment required). Photographers to be studied include well-known documentary photographers such as Bernice Adams, Walker Evans, Louis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Mary Ellen Mark, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Steichen, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Jacob Riis, and Ansel Adams, as well as many other photographers working globally, from 1839 to the present.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ARTH 110 - W14 Introduction to Art History - T - R - - - 0955 - 1135 OEC 203

Days of Week:

- T - R - - -

Time of Day:

0955 - 1135

Location:

OEC 203

Course Registration Number:

20525 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Heather M. Shirey

Through a series of case studies, this course examines the importance of art as cultural expression across time and from a global perspective. In each course section, students will analyze the style, subject, and patronage of works of art, and will explore art's relationship to religion, ideology, society and economy, gender roles, and the interaction of cultures. Case studies will include architecture, sculpture, painting, and other arts, such as ceramics, textiles, and photography. This course fulfills the Fine Arts and Human Diversity core requirements. Consult the department website for details about the specific sections offered.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)