Jean Borgatti

Visiting faculty member Jean Borgatti is a professor of Art History at the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria; consulting curator of African art at the Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg, MA; and a research fellow at the African Studies Center at Boston University and in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Clark University (Worcester, MA) where she taught from 1982–2002. Borgatti majored in modern art history at Wellesley College, an interest that brought her to African art because of the formal relationships between non-Western and European modern art. She has conducted research in Nigeria over a period of more than 40 years.

Recent awards include a Sainsbury Institute Fellowship (University of East Anglia) for writing in 2005 and two Fulbright fellowships for teaching and research in Nigeria (2002–04 and 2014–16). Borgatti was president of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) from 2008–11 and was awarded ACASA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. In 2017, she received ACASA’s Curatorial Award (small institutions) for the exhibition Global Africa on view at the Fitchburg Art Museum (2014–18).

Borgatti is known for her interests in and research on masquerades and other multimedia African art forms, portraiture in African art, the African artist as individual, as well as cross-cultural studies of categories of art and criticism. She has curated a number of exhibitions, notably From the Hands of Lawrence Ajanaku and Cloth as Metaphor (both with monographs) for the museum now known as the Fowler at UCLA and Likeness and Beyond: Portraits in Africa and the World, Center for African Art (1990), New York, and the Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth. Recent research—beyond a continuation of the work begun in the 1970s—includes an ongoing study of the Anglo-Nigerian fashion designer Ade Bakare (“’Why Africa? Why Now?’ The Designs of Ade Bakare” in International Journal of Fashion Studies) and a study of Ekasa ritual dance associated with the 2016 coronation of the Oba of Benin.

Fall 2017 Courses

  • HAVC-H101-05 History Of Art & Visual Culture 1
  • HAVC-H101-06 History Of Art & Visual Culture 1

Spring 2018 Courses

  • HAVC-H308-01 African Textiles Now!
  • HAVC-H304-01 Artists Of African Descent In America and The Uk-post Modern/post Colonial Critical Expression
  • HAVC-H102-08 History Of Art & Visual Culture 2 (Topics)
  • HAVC-H102-10 History Of Art & Visual Culture 2 (Topics)
  • Jean Borgatti's CV
  • BA, Wellesley College
  • MA, University of California, Los Angeles
  • PHD, University of California, Los Angeles


Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History of Art + Visual Culture History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles