Salah M. Hassan

Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in Africana Studies, on leave 2021-2023


Salah M. Hassan is the Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in Africana Studies and Research Center, and Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), Cornell University. Hassan is an art historian, art critic and curator. He is an editor and founder of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (Duke University Press) and served as consulting editor for African Arts. He currently serves as member of the editorial advisory board of Atlantica and Journal of Curatorial Studies. He authored, edited and co-edited several books including Darfur and the Crisis of Governance: A Critical Reader (2009), and Diaspora, Memory, Place (2008); Unpacking Europe (2001); Authentic/Ex-Centric (2001); Gendered Visions: The Art of Contemporary Africana Women Artists (1997); and Art and Islamic Literacy among the Hausa of Northern Nigeria (1992). He guest edited a special issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly, entitled African Modernism (2010). His book Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist, published in 2012 in conjunction with the retrospective of the Sudanese artist, Ibrahim El Salahi, which was exhibited at The Tate Modern in London this past summer (July-October, 2013) after premiering in the Sharjah Art Museum (in March 2013) in Sharjah, UAE. He has contributed essays to journals, anthologies and exhibition catalogues of contemporary art. He has curated several international exhibitions such as Authentic/Ex-Centric (49th Venice Biennale, 2001), Unpacking Europe (Rotterdam, 2001-02), and 3x3: Three Artists/Three: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Pamela Z (Dak'Art, 2004). He is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, such as the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, as well as major grants from the Sharjah Art Foundation, Ford, Rockefeller, Andy Warhol and Prince Claus Fund foundations.

Languages Spoken
English and Arabic 

Research Focus

Research interests include African and African Diaspora art history and visual cultures, focusing on contemporary art and modernism from comparative perspectives. Currently working on two major projects funded by the Sharjah Art Foundations, UAE entitled The Egyptian Surrealists and the Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945-Present) which will result in several publications and traveling exhibitions.


Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (Museum for African Art, 2012)

David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos-pons, Pamela Z.: Three Artists, Three Projects, Dakar Biennale: Diaspora, Memory, Place. Co-authored with Cheryl Finley. (Prestel USA, 2008)

"Strange Fruit: Lynching, Visuality, Empire." Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, 2006


In the news

Courses - Spring 2023