Suzanne Preston Blier

Harvard University
Humanities and Arts
Visual Arts

Suzanne Preston Blier, the Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies at Harvard, is a historian of African art and architecture in both the History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies Departments. She also is a member of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science and Faculty Associate at the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative. 

Her recent book projects include the forthcoming 1325: How Medieval Africa Made the World Modern and Picasso’s Demoiselles: The True Origins of a Modern Art Masterpiece, winner of the 2020 Robert Motherwell Book Award for an outstanding publication in the history and criticism of modernism in the arts. Her other books include Les asen: mémoires de fer forge dans l’art vodoun du Dahomey, The Image of the Black in African and Asian Art co-edited with David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and The Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes. co-edited with David Bindman and Vera Ingrid Grant. Her 2015 book, Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power and Identity c.1300 won the Prose Prize in Art History and Criticism.

Blier's fellowships include: CASVA (Paul Mellon Senior Fellow, the National Gallery of Art), John Simon Guggenheim, the Radcliffe Institute, NEH, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Fulbright Senior Research, Social Science Research Council, ACLS, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and the Getty Center for the Study of Art. She is Co-Chair of an Electronic Geo-Spatial Database: Africamap, a site expanded into Worldmap (now part of Arc GIS online) where she serves as chair of the Faculty Steering Committee.

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