Chika Okeke-Agulu

Associate Professor
Department of Art and Archaeology & Department of African American Studies
Ph.D, Art History
Emory University
317 McCormick Hall
office phone:
(609) 258-7456
Chika Okeke-Agulu

Chika Okeke-Agulu specializes in classical, modern, and contemporary African art history and theory. He previously taught at The Pennsylvania State University, Emory University, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. In 2006, he edited the first ever issue of African Arts Dedicated to African Modernism, and has published articles and reviews in African Arts, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Internationalism, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Art South Africa and Glendora Review. He contributed to edited volumes such as Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace, The Nsukka Artists and Contemporary Nigerian Art, and The Grove Dictionary of Art. Professor Okeke-Agulu is the author of a new book, Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria.

Professor Okeke-Agulu is a recipient of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association Outstanding Dissertation triennial award (2007). In 2007, Professor Okeke-Agulu was appointed the Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor of Art History at Williams College, and Fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.


AAS 245/ART 245
Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movements

This course surveys important moments in twentieth century African American art from the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s to the 1960s Black Arts movement. Our close studies of the work of major artists will be accompanied by examination of influential theories and ideologies of blackness during two key moments of black racial consciousness in the United States. We shall cover canonical artists and writers such as Aaron Douglas, James van der Zee, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, W. E. B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, James Porter and Jeff Donaldson.

AAS 372 / ART 374 / AMS 372
Postblack: Contemporary African American Art

As articulated by Thelma Golden, postblack refers to the work of African American artists who emerged in the 1990s with ambitious, irreverent, and sassy work. Though hard to define, postblack suggested the emergence of a generation of artists removed from the long tradition of black affirmation of the Harlem Renaissance, black empowerment of the Black Arts movement, and identity politics of the 1980s and early 90s. This seminar provides an opportunity for a deep engagement with the work of African American artists of the past decade. It will involve critical and theoretical readings on multiculturalism, race, identity, and contemporary art.

AAS 411 / ART 471 / AFS 411
Art, Apartheid, and South Africa

Apartheid, the political doctrine of separation of races in South Africa (1948-1990), dominated the (South) African political discourse in the second half of the 20th century. While it lasted, art and visual cultures were marshaled in the defense and contestation of its ideologies. Since the end of Apartheid, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, and scholars continue to reexamine the legacies of Apartheid, and the social, philosophical, and political conditions of non-racialized South Africa. Course readings examine issues of race, nationalism and politics, art and visual culture, and social memory in South Africa.

ART 260 / AAS 260 / AFS 260 (LA)
Introduction to African Art

An introduction to African art and architecture from prehistory to the 20th century. Beginning with Paleolithic rock art of northern and southern Africa, we will cover ancient Nubia and Meroe; Neolithic cultures such as Nok, Djenne and Ife; African kingdoms, including Benin, Asante, Bamun, Kongo, Kuba, Great Zimbabwe, and the Zulu; Christian Ethiopia and the Islamic Swahili coast; and other societies, such as the Sherbro, Igbo, and the Maasai. By combining Africa’s cultural history and developments in artistic forms we establish a long historical view of the stunning diversity of the continent’s indigenous arts and architecture.