Nicholas Mirzoeff


Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. He is one of the founders of the academic discipline of visual culture in books like An Introduction to Visual Culture (1999/2009) and The Visual Culture Reader (1998/2002/2012).

He is also Deputy Director of the International Association for Visual Culture and organized its first conference in 2012.

His most recent book The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) won the Anne Friedberg Award for Innovative Scholarship from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies in 2013.

In 2012, he undertook a durational writing project called Occupy 2012. Every day, he posted online about the Occupy movement and its implications. He is currently producing an open source anthology of the project as an e-book.

In 2014, he will launch After Occupy: What We Learned, an open writing project on the lessons of the social movement. Essays will be posted, comments and feedback will be solicited and then incorporated into the final version, which will be an open source e-book.

Finally, he is working on expanding the Right to Look into a trilogy. The second part will be a genealogy of occupation, taking space and land use in the time after rupture from the Haitian Revolution, via Reconstruction and 1968 to Occupy. The final part is called To Live, Finally and asks how to live in human-made geological time.


Degrees Held

  • BA Honours Oxford University 1980
  • Modern History
  • PhD University of Warwick 1990
  • Art History and History
    Ph.D. dissertation: " Pictorial Form and Social Order in France 1638-1752: L'Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture"

Teaching Positions

  • 2009- : Professor, Media, Culture and Communication, affiliate faculty in Performance Studies,New York University
  • 2004- 2008 : Professor, Art and Art Professions, affiliate faculty in Performance Studies, New York University
  • 2001— 2004 : Professor, Art and Comparative Literature, SUNY Stony Brook
  • 1998- 2001: Associate Professor, Art and Comparative Literature, SUNY Stony Brook
  • 1997- 1998 : Associate Professor, Art History, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • 1992- 1997 : Assistant Professor, Art History, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • 1991- 1992 : Assistant Professor, Art History, University of Texas, Austin
  • Spring 1991: Lecturer, Art History, University of California, Irvine
  • Autumn 1984, 1987-8, 1989-90 : Lecturer, Art History, University of Warwick


  • 2008 : Co-Pl for Planning Grant, “Networking Visual Culture,” Scholarly Communications Institute, Andrew Mellon Foundation
  • 2006 : NYU-Steinhardt Challenge Grant
  • 2005 : Visiting Canterbury Fellow, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • 2002 : Visiting Fellow, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown MA
  • 2002 : Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Nottingham, UK
  • 2001 : Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Center, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 2001 : William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, Visting Fellow
  • 1996 : Postdoctoral Fellow, Humanities Institute, Stony Brook University
  • 1994 : Huntington Library, Pasadena, CA, Visiting Fellow
  • 1993 : Yale Center for British Art, Visiting Fellow
  • 1992 : J. Paul Getty Center, Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art and the Humanities
  • 1991 : NEH Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies

Curatorial and Museum Experience

  • Februray- March, 2009 : Guest Expert, for Jeremy Deller, “It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq,” The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
  • 2005 : Scholar’s Panel and adviser, “The New Jewish Identity Project,” (commissioned photography show on non-Ashkenazi Jewishness), Jewish Museum, New York City
  • 2003 : Primary Adviser, “Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self,” curated by Brian Wallis and Coco Fusco, International Center for Photography, New York City
  • November 2001 : Scholar’s Panel and adviser, Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth Century Europe, curated by Susan Goodman, The Jewish Museum, New York City
  • Nov. 9-Dec.16, 2000 : Curator: “Intersecting Identities: Jewishness at the Crossroads,” University Art Gallery, SUNY Stony Brook
  • 1999 - : Exhibitions Committee, University Art Gallery, SUNY Stony Brook
  • Scholar’s Panel, Chaim Soutine, curated by Norman Kleeblatt and Kenneth Silver, The Jewish Museum, New York City
  • 1994- 1996 : Exhibitions Committee, Elvehjem Museum, Madison, Wisconsin


  • E58.2400 Topics in Visual Culture and Cultural Studies: Modernity and Climate Change
  • E90.2120 Foundations of Visual Culture
  • E90.2121 Visual and Critical Analysis: Orientalisms
  • E90.2160 Topics in Visual Culture: Watching Catastrophe: 9-11, Iraq, Katrina

Editorial Boards

  • 2009: Cultural Studies, Editorial Board Member
  • 2007: Journal of Photography and Culture, Editorial Board Member
  • 2001-Present: The Journal of Visual Culture, Editorial Board Member
  • 2002-Present: Situation Analysis, Editorial Board Member
  • 2004-2007: British Film Institute Television Classics, Editorial Board Member

Reserach Interests

  • Visual Culture
  • Cultural History
  • Disability Studies
  • Contemporary Art and New Media
  • Human Rights


Download Full CV