Associate Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism

Elizabeth W. Giorgis received her PhD in the History of Art and Visual Studies from Cornell University in 2010 and her Masters in Museum Studies from New York University in 2004. She is a member of the editorial board for Transition Magazine, North East African Studies (NEAS) and for Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences (EJSS). She is an advisory editorial board member for Journal for Critical African Studies, Callaloo Art and contributing editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME).

She is a recipient of several fellowships including The Ali Mazrui Senior Fellowship for Global African Studies at The Africa Institute, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Brown University, a visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna and a fellow at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center Academic Writing Resident Fellows Program. Modernist Art in Ethiopia (year, publisher) was shortlisted for the African Studies Association UK Fage and Oliver Prize for outstanding and original scholarship on Africa. It was also a finalist for the African Studies Association Best Book Prize (formelry known as the Melville J. Herskovits prize). It won the African Studies Association’s 2020 Bethwell A. Ogbot Book Prize as the best book on East African Studies.

She has curated several exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center, more recently, the works of Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. She has also participated in several international conferences and public lectures. In January 2019, she served as convener for the first African Humanities Initiative called Africa as Concept: Decolonization, Emancipation and Freedom that was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and the Consortium of the Humanities, Centers and Institutes (CHCI).


Her current research is focused on Ethiopian women’s aesthetic in the wider politics of exclusion. Her book, Modernist Art in Ethiopia­––published by Ohio University Press––was released in February 2019. It is the first comprehensive monographic study of Ethiopian visual modernism within a broader social and intellectual history.


  • Unheard Voices: Contestations Over Representation (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 2020)
  • "Skunder Boghossian: A Brief Introduction to the Man and the Artist." Callaloo40, no. 5 (2017): 10-13
  • World of Malls: Architecture of Consumption, Hatje Cantz Verlag; 1st edition (June 1, 2016), Art Academy of Vienna
  • Time Sensitive Activity: The Works of Olafur Eliasson. Addis Ababa: Central Publishers, 2016). Exhibition catalogue.
  • Modernist Art in Ethiopia (Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2019)