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Hilary Whitham Sánchez

Assistant Professor of Art History

Dr. Whitham Sánchez’s writing and teaching focus on the artistic cultures of Africa and the Americas with an emphasis on efficacious and ephemeral works produced in the French- and Spanish-speaking Atlantic Worlds during the modern period (ca. 1800 to the present). Along with a deep attention to these arts’ phenomenological qualities, she adopts a critical analytical approach to the texts and institutions that frame, interpret, and support them.

More About Me

Her first book project, provisionally titled “From Dada to Decolonization: The Idea of Africa and the Radical Past of Modernist Art,” considers the role of African works in the exhibitions and performances of artists living and working along the Black Atlantic across six decades of the 20th century. The project traverses disciplinary and methodological boundaries, integrating rigorous archival research and historiographic analyses with the work of anthropologists, theoreticians, and heritage-bearers.

In partnership with Dr. Synatra Smith, she co-leads Philly Necrofutures - a born-digital initiative combining art historical research with data curation and visualization to excavate and analyze the histories of collecting African material cultures at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Penn Museum since the 1930s.

Parallel to her work as a historian, she maintains an active practice working with living artists: in 2015, she co-founded the nationally recognized Incubation Series training program for artists and curators in the Philadelphia area, and served as Director of Amos Eno Gallery, New York City’s oldest continually operating artist cooperative.

A first generation Cuban American, she is the first person in her family to earn an advanced graduate degree.


Recent publications include “Bamboula!: Dada Performance as Sonic Blackface” in the 2021 special issue on sound, colonialism and power of MAST (University of Buffalo), and a review of the 2019 exhibition “After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Art” for ArtMargins.