Lucy C. McDannel '22 Professor of Art History
Chair of Art History and Architectural Studies
Director of the Museum Studies Program
Joined Connecticut College: 1997
B.A., M.A., Johns Hopkins University; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
African art and material culture
Art market and collecting
Images of race and "otherness" in visual culture
Offbeat museums and visionary art
Censorship and museum controversies
Christopher Steiner teaches a range of interdisciplinary courses in art history, anthropology and museum studies. His classes cover topics on the traditional and contemporary arts of Africa; on the visual representation of race and ethnic identity in art and film; on the history of museums and on recent museum debates and controversies; and on kitsch or "bad" art emerging from the margins, cracks and corners of the canonical art world.
His field research in West Africa focuses on the construction of value and meaning in art through transnational exchange, resulting in numerous articles and his award-winning book African Art in Transit. He is also co-editor of both Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation and Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds.
Steiner is working currently on a book project for the Peabody Museum (Harvard University) about their collection of Liberian masks and material culture acquired in the mid 20th-century by American medical missionary Dr. George W. Harley.