John Peffer
ACLS Fellow (2018-2019) Sponsor: Lydia Liu
Associate Professor of Art History, Ramapo College

John Peffer is a specialist in modern African art and photography and Associate Professor of Art History at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He is a past President of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA), the author of Art and the End of Apartheid (2009) and co-editor of Photography and Portraiture in Africa (2013). Dr. Peffer’s research has examined the historiography of African Art History, art and visual culture in South Africa during apartheid, and general issues of global modernity and human rights in art, photography, and visuality. He received his Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University in 2002. His book Art and The End of Apartheid was a Finalist for the African Studies Association Melville Herskovits Book Award in 2010. Other awards include a Clark Art Institute fellowship, an Andy Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers’ Grant, Fulbright IIE awards, the College Art Association Millard Meiss book prize, and an American Philosophical Society award for archival research. His essays have appeared in the journals Cabinet, Visual Anthropology Review, Third Text, African Arts, RES, Art Journal, Africultures, and Rethinking Marxism, and in the exhibition anthologies Looking Both Ways (Museum for African Art, 2003) and Through African Eyes (Detroit Institute of Arts, 2010). He was co-curator in 2000 of Translation/ Seduction/ Displacement: Post-Conceptual and Photographic Work by Artists from South Africa (New York, White Box), and in 2015 of Think of Number 6 (Stellenbosch and Johannesburg, South Africa). In 2007 he was a founding editor of the interdisciplinary journal Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. At ICLS he is a visiting ACLS Fellow completing a book project, How to Remember Apartheid with Pleasure, which examines the vernacular experience of photography in South Africa. During 2013-2015 he conducted research toward that project in South Africa on Fulbright CIES and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships.

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