Portrait of Anna Dempsey


Anna Dempsey, PhD

Professor / Chairperson

Art Education, Art History & Media Studies




College of Visual & Performing Arts 360A


1998Columbia UniversityPhD


  • Contemporary Art
  • Gender Studies
  • Design History
  • Curatorial Studies




Research interests

  • Contemporary Art
  • Curatorial Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Design and Architectural History
  • Virtual Museums

Anna Dempsey received her PhD in Art History from Columbia University with a dissertation on Walter Benjamin, Erwin Panofsky and German culture of the twentieth century. Her current research interests include applying Benjamin's critical concepts and theories of place to contemporary museum design, graphic design, architecture and gender and border spaces in film.

Dempsey has received numerous national and international awards and grants including, National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship for the Winterthur Museum, Wilmington DE. 2010-2011 (a four-month residency); UMassD Provost’s Research Grants (multiple); Fulbright Summer Seminar and Research Grant, Jewish Culture in Germany; Edna Schaeffer Humanist Award, JMU Grant; Grinnell College Faculty Research Grant; Fulbright Fellowship for Germany; a residence at the Warburg Archive at the University of Hamburg, in Hamburg, Germany and Columbia University President’s Fellowship.

Selected Writings and Scholarly Presentations

Current Research

National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship for the Winterthur Museum, Wilmington DE.   2010-2011 (in residence for four months during this period)

Book Project (Research completed at the Winterthur Museum and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities):  “Working Women Artists: Images of Domesticity and the Construction of American Modernism, 1880-1930” (Received numerous unsolicited letters of interest from book publishers based on conference paper abstracts). 

Book Chapters

“Women’s Stories and Public Space in Iranian New Wave Film,” in Storytelling in World Cinemas, Volume II, edited by Linda Khatib.  Columbia University Press.  In Press. Publication date: Nov. 2012.

“150 Years Later:  Remembering Africa in the Museum” in Africa and its Diasporas: Memory, Public History & Representations of the Past. Edited by Audra A. Diptee and David V. Trotman.    Africa World Press/The Red Sea Press.  In Press.  Publication Date:  Spring, 2012.

“Building Consensus:  Painting and the Enlightenment Tradition in Post-Wall Germany,” in Tracing Cultural Divides:  Specters of the Berlin Wall,”  edited by Katharina Gerstenberger and Jana Braziel. Palgrave Press. 2011.

“Time and Memory:  Inside Berlin’s Jewish Museum,” accepted chapter for refereed volume of essays titled Time and Memory in Narrative, edited by Karl Simms. Publisher: Rodopi  (second draft with editor).

Journal Articles

“Telling the Girl’s Side of the Story:  Celebrating the Spaces of Femininity in Iranian Film,” in Images of Children and Childhood in the Middle East, special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Duke University Press),  edited by Christiane Gruber and Pamela Karimi, (in press. Winter 2012).

“Evocative Remnants;  Reactivating the ‘Lost’ Treasures of the European Avant-Garde, an Interview with Bruce Checefsky,” with Pamela Karimi and Benjamin Matteson,  in a special edition titled Inertia for Thresholds 37 (M.I.T. Press:  Spring 2011).

“Berlin’s Hackescher Markt:  Gentrification, Cultural Memory and the New Public Square,”   for a special edition titled Global/Local Encounters in German Monitor, edited by Renate Rechtien and Karoline von Oppen, 68: 1 (2007) 255-280.

“After the Fall of the Wall:  Remembering and Reinventing the Former German Democratic Republic,” for a special edition of journal Cinemascope: Independent Film Journal, edited by Pierre Sorlin, titled Cinema and the Puzzle of Memory 2: 5 (May-August 2006).

“Nurturing Nature and Cinematic Experience:  The American Landscape and the Rural Female Community,” Journal of Cultural Geography,  23:1 (Fall/Winter 2005): 115-137.

“Berlin Traditions and Potsdamer Platz: Architectural Reconstruction and the Transformation of a Public Place,” German as a Foreign Language (2, 2005): 81-102.

“Through the Window:  New Media, Identity and the Public Sphere,” Journal of New Media and Culture 3: 2 (Summer/Fall 2005) refereed peer-reviewed journal.